Cinebanter

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Monday, May 12, 2014

SIFF Sighting: FROM NEURONS TO NIRVANA: THE GREAT MEDICINES (Documentary; Canada)


When we think of psychedelic drugs, most of our minds go directly to the acid-tripping 60s. Timothy Leary, The Beatles, the beat poets—the gang's all there in our instant perceptions of what drugs like LSD can do to the human body.

The doctors and scientists in this film want us to believe otherwise. They're on a mission to re-open the discussion around the potential medical benefits of such drugs.

Though "bad trips" can certainly be a consequence of abusing such substances, they argue that in a controlled environment with an appropriate dosage, great things can come of using them safely. They cite evidence from the jungles of the Amazon and other faraway places where the drugs are used to help alleviate human suffering.

Despite the powerful commentary, and the welcome archive footage, the interview presentation is somewhat cheesy, with psychedelic "effects" framing and interfering with the talking heads.

It would have been easier to take seriously without the theatrics.

FROM NEURONS TO NIRVANA: THE GREAT MEDICINES will be shown at the 40th Seattle International Film Festival May 24 and 25. For tickets, go here.

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