FLicKeR Brion Gysin documentary
FLicKeR Brion Gysin documentary
Dir: Nic Sheehan
Based on John Geiger’s book Chapel of Extreme Experience, Nik Sheehan’s FLicKeR is a fascinating voyage into the life of artist and mystic Brion Gysin and his legendary invention the dream machine, a device that projects stroboscopic light, provoking a “drugless high” and cinematic hallucinations. In this Hot Docs world premiere Sheehan captures the dynamic, supernatural world of Gysin, the queer cultural terrorist who fused science, magic and art to expand human consciousness and transcend material reality.
Gysin’s biography is difficult to condense, but he grew up in Edmonton before reinventing himself as a bohemian globetrotter who went on to become the unacknowledged genius behind some of the most interesting developments in the 20th-century avant-garde. He died in 1986. Sheehan casts him as a radical artist intent on harnessing “the visionary potential of light” (as Geiger puts it) to revolutionary ends. Gysin was not a man but, like the machine, a way of perceiving the world Ñ pure energy. He even tried to make himself invisible.
“It’s incredible that nobody’s made this film before,” says Sheehan, whose previous credits include God’s Fool about writer Scott Symons and the groundbreaking AIDS documentary No Sad Songs. Queer heat
“I was surprised how anxious people were to open up and talk about Gysin because people have so many different views of him.” What is so compelling about FLicKeR is that Gysin remains mysterious and ephemeral throughout, no amount of talking could ever explain him.
Sheehan’s film is populated with a who’s who of pundits, countercultural figures and Gysin confidantes, reminding you that rock ‘n’ roll has always gone hand in hand with the most out-there shit: Marianne Faithfull, Iggy Pop, Kenneth Anger and Genesis P-Orridge all wax poetic on Gysin, magic and their most memorable trips, as do younger devotees like Lee Ranaldo and DJ Spooky. How did Sheehan land all these stellar interviewees? “That’s the magical question,” quips Sheehan. “It’s a very interesting group; they go back a long time. And because they’re cult figures they’ve obviously built up all these defences. So it was a very complicated and long and dedicated effort to bring everybody online.” QUEER TRUTH. Nik Sheehan’s amazing doc FLicKeR on Canadian artist Brion Gyson argues that the Beats’ struggle against conformity and authority must continue.[Read More]
(Jon Davies, http://www.xtra.ca/public/Toronto/FLicKeR_Brion_Gysin_documentary-4608.aspx)
watch the movie online : briongysin.com
Brion Gysin, artist, traveller, writer and alchemist; one of the unsung English painters of the 20th Century, expelled by Breton from the Surrealists, and the seminal influence who introduced William Burroughs to the use of permutations and cut-ups in writing. He remains today one of the unsung prophets of this century, a master magician whose methods can be applied by anyone, in any time and in any place.
Nik Sheehan is a Canadian documentary filmmaker, who established an international reputation with No Sad Songs (1985), the first major documentary on AIDS. The film cited by world renowned specialist Dr. Balfour Mount as “the best film on the planet this year”.
In 1995 he produced and directed Symposium, inspired by Plato’s classic and featuring multiple views of gay love as performed by Canadian artists and writers including Brad Fraser, Stan Persky, Patricia Rozema, Tomson Highway, Daniel MacIvor and others. Premiering at the Montréal Film Festival, it was broadcast extensively by the CBC, and created national headlines.
God’s Fool (1997), shot in Morocco, tells the story of Scott Symons, a renegade writer of the Canadian establishment who had exiled himself to the seaside town of Essaouira. It premiered at the Toronto International Festival of Authors, where artistic director Greg Gatenby judged it “the best film biography of a writer I have ever seen”. God’s Fool was broadcast nationally in prime time on Bravo TV. In 2002 the film opened “Freedom to Read Week” on the BookTelevision digital channel, where it remains in rotation. Following Symons‘ death in February 2009, Sheehan wrote and published an obituary in Xtra!
Sheehan has worked as a literary critic, essayist, and biographer, publishing in Montage, POV, the National Post, Now, Toronto Life, Quill & Quire, Masthead and fab.