Alexander ‘Sasha’ Shulgin is the scientist behind more than 200 psychedelic compounds including MDMA, more commonly known as Ecstasy. Considered to be one of the greatest chemists of the twentieth century, Sasha’s vast array of discoveries have had a profound impact in the field of psychedelic research. ‘Dirty Pictures’ delves into the lifework of Dr. Shulgin and scientists like him. The documentary explores the world of these scientists; their findings and motivations; their ideas; and their beliefs about how research in this particular field can aid in unlocking the complexities of the mind.
Director: Étienne Sauret
There aren’t any dirty pictures (it will take to nearly the end of the movie to understand the title), but there are some frank discussions about drug use and sex.
This was a documentary we watched last weekend on Netflix. It was a bit tedious, and could have likely been edited down to about an hour, and been just as informative, and probably more interesting. It does show what some people don’t expect, showing the lives of a happy, normal, successful family. No matter how many drugs Shulgin has invented for people to eat, snort, shoot, this film makes you realize that this man’s only intention is to figure out the mind, and he’s very careful (if a bit humorously absent-minded) with his creations.
You can sense the love and life between the various people in the film. They are simply normal people, and much of the movie shows the more mundane parts of their lives. But I think that’s the appeal, they are, while a bit eccentric, pretty normal folks.
I don’t guess I’d rush out and watch this, but if you have a Netflix account, and a lazy Sunday afternoon or evening, it is likely worth watching.