Henri Michaux 1889-1984
Images du monde visionnaire
Henri Michaux and Eric Duvivier (1964, 34 min)

In 1963, Belgian writer, painter and mystic Henri Michaux collaborated with film maker Eric Duvivier on Images Du Monde Visionnaire. It was produced by Swiss pharmaceutical company Sandoz as an educational tool to demonstrate the visual effects of mescaline and hashish. The film was based on Michaux’s experiences with psychedelics which he documented in his books Miserable Miracle, L’Infini Turbulent and Paix Dans Les Brisements.

Michaux denounced the film as not being truly representative of the psychedelic experience. He felt that Duvivier, who had never taken mescaline, had no grasp of the drug experience and that film itself was incapable of replicating the visionary aspect of tripping.

When it was proposed to make a film about mescaline hallucinations, I have declared, I have repeated and I repeat it again, that that is to attempt the impossible. Even in a superior film, made with substantial means, with all one needs for an exceptional production, I must state beforehand the images will be insufficient. The images would have to be more dazzling, more instable, more subtle, more changeable, more ungraspable, more trembling, more tormenting, more writhing, infinitely more charged, more intensely beautiful, more frighteningly colored, more aggressive, more idiotic, more strange.

With regard to the film’s speed, it should be so high that all scenes would have to fit in fifty seconds.

While I am sympathetic to Michaux’s frustrations on a spiritual level, I disagree with him about film not being up to the task of duplicating the psychedelic experience on a visual level. Of all the art forms, cinema can come closest to bending the mind in ways that approximate the psychedelic experience. The best examples of which are the films of Stan Brakhage and fragments of James Cameron’s Avatar. More of an avant-garde tone poem than educational film, here is Images Du Monde Visionnaire in its entirety. -- dangerousminds.net