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The Fourth day: The Substance: Albert Hofmann's LSD

 The Fourth day: The Substance: Albert Hofmann's LSD
This is the second full-length film by a Swiss director Martin Witz – the first his picture was the 90-minute film “Dutty der Riese” about the founder of the Migros trading network Gottlieb Duttweiler. The first film was awarded with the Zurich festival prize, the second one was nominated for the Swiss award. The both films are moderately patriotic: “Dutty” is about the Swiss capitalism with a human face, “Substance” is about the most well-known Swiss scientist of the last century. Here hundred-years-old Albert Hoffman is sitting on the background of the ages-old hills worn in the suite looking like borrowed from the characters of vintage filming of “Heidi” and discussing the mysticism of scientific experience – a chemist who invented LSD. It’s not our first time ever to hear the stories of LSD and all the more with such an intonation – the film is made within the leisurely style of 60-ies and sometimes the footage seems to stand still showing a vintage phone with a dial or vintage chronics are interrupted with some abstract pictures or ocean murmur. The general charms of the film is only disturbed with the footage of experiments carried out in American clinics: both documentary and - for a brighter impression - life-action ones. But soon bliss is coming back to the screen: the servicemen tried LSD are giggling and dancing on the parade ground, Mexican healers immersing into mystical experience and the painted bus of the Marry Pranksters rushing nowhere. This film is not about “the drug” but about “the substance” unfairly expelled from science after a decade of miracle-making. If this substance had been used on in psychiatry it could have been possible to discover a medicine against many mental diseases we know up to schizophrenia, Stanislav Grof says. He compares LSD to microscope or telescope: as a telescope doesn’t make up the stars the substance doesn’t create new experience but let us look into unexplored areas of mind. Hofmann repeats: I am sure LSD is to find its real usage. It can’t just disappear. Today little by little LSD starts to be used in psychiatry and as a relief for gravely ill patients again so the historical unfairness can be taken as redressed. However director Martin Witz seems not to have this goal. He just enjoys Albert Hofmann’s – a hale wise old man reminding of a fragile charms of this world - presence in the shot. Who is to be listened to but the scientist? “Consciousness is the supreme gift to the mankind. That a human is conscious of the fact he was created. That we are conscious of being and don’t wander over the paradise in the dark”.
13 октября в 18.00 в Большой аудитории Политехнического музея - показ картины "Вещество". Фильм представит режиссер Мартин Витц. "Вещество" — про самого известного швейцарского ученого прошлого века. Здесь на фоне столетних холмов,  в костюме, будто позаимствованном у героев винтажной экранизации "Хайди", сидит столетний Альберт Хоффман — химик, открывший LSD, — и рассуждает о мистике научного опыта.
The Fourth day: The Substance: Albert Hofmann's LSD
13.10.2012

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