Flicker (2008)





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"Really, I think, behind everything, he was trying to teach people to see differently." -Genesis P-Orridge, on Brion GysinFLicKeR tells the story of the influential yet little-known artist Brion Gysin (1916-1986), and his amazing dream machine, a drug-free way to achieve altered states of mind through dancing pulses of light, which he and his friends believed would revolutionize human consciousness. Featuring greats like William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin (in archival footage), singer Marianne Faithfull, rocker Iggy Pop, Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo, singer/artist Genesis P-Orridge of Psychic TV, poet John Giorno, filmmaker Kenneth Anger, Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner, and artist/turntablist DJ Spooky, among other counter-culture superstars, FLicKeRis a hypnotic documentary that asks fundamental questions about an individual's freedom to dream and create. The Dream Machine looks simple enough: a 100-watt light bulb, a motor, and a rotating cylinder with cutouts. Just sit in front of it, close your eyes, and wait for the visions to come. The Dream Machine offers a drugless high that its creator -- poet, artist, calligrapher, and mystic Brion Gysin -- believed would revolutionize human consciousness. He wasn't alone. William S. Burroughs thought it could be used to "storm the citadels of enlightenment." With a custom-made Dream Machine in tow, Nik Sheehan takes us on a journey into the life of Brion Gysin -- his art, his complex ideas, and his friendships with some of the 20th century's key counterculture figures. Taking the Dream Machine as the basis of its explorations, FLicKeR asks crucial questions about the nature of art and consciousness, and imagines a humanity liberated to explore its creativity in complete freedom. FLicKeR has played numerous prestige international film festivals and was released theatrically across Canada in winter 2009, to rave reviews and universal praise. --© Anthology Archives
Documentary , Special Interest
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Anthology Archives


Critic Reviews for Flicker

All Critics (1) | Top Critics (1)

Thanks to this trippy flick, his revolutionary ideas live on, like a ghost in the machine.

April 23, 2009
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Flicker


Although the film's main focus is on the Brion Gysin/Ian Sommerville Dreamachine, this is a documentary about the life and genius that was artist/writer/cultural engineer Brion Gysin. The film details Gysin's relationship with William S. Burroughs, a common bond between magicians that soon became the greatest literary friendship of the 20th century. Stemming from the European Dada movement of the early half of the twentieth century, Gysin and Burroughs developed a popularized literary method, known as the "cut-up technique" which later influenced a generation of inspiring artists. Together Gysin and Burroughs were cultural assassins; cultural engineers; artists before their time producing work which the world was not yet able to grasp. Unfortunately however, Gysin became a conjurer of his own words, living an impoverished life, swallowed up in his own spell. Fortunately for us, there are pieces of art such as this, dusting off shelved illuminations from forgotten morsels of human intelligence; illuminations from a forgotten personality and eclectic visionary, Brion Gysin.

Branden William
Branden William

Wow! This was interesting. I had never heard of the machine that provides a natural high - the dreamachine. It seems strange that it fell out of favour from its original rise in the sixties but perhaps narcotics were more appealing.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

It is unfortunate that RT confuses this movie Flicker (2008) with Flicker (2009.) Flicker is a scary movie starring Katy Houska. Look it up anywhere but RT.

Melissa Brownbear
Melissa Brownbear

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