Psychedelic cinema is part of the broader psychedelic movement, which began as a subsection of the 1960s counterculture. The best psychedelic films span many genres and styles, united by experimentation, bright colors, and hallucinating narratives. They tend to be non-linear and feature visual distortion, often with the intent of subverting the audience’s idea of reality. The aesthetic is inspired by the distorted sensory perceptions of psychoactive drugs, especially LSD.
Over the years, the theme of psychedelic movies has appeared several times in r/movies, the largest movie subreddit. Here are some of the most popular psychedelic movies on the subreddit. They are sure to be a memorable viewing experience, though not always understandable. Turn off your mind, relax and immerse yourself…
‘A field in England’ (2013)
“What do you see, friend?” “Nothing. Maybe just shadows.” This historic, psychological horror movie is set during the English Civil War and follows a group of army deserters looking for a brewery. However, an alchemist leads the men to a field full of mushrooms, which he cooks and serves for dinner. The mushrooms are hallucinogenic and the men spend the next few hours trapped in a terrifyingly intense trip that blurs the line between reality and hallucination.
Although it has many of the trappings of a period piece, A field in England primarily explores perception. It’s unusual for a psychedelic movie in that it’s shot in black and white. With the color gone, the texture and contrast are more prominent. This is emphasized by quick editing, which includes images collapsing in on themselves and lots of mirror shots. These techniques serve to place the viewer in the minds of the protagonists. “If you get two streams of images and show them at the same time, you perceive both images but simultaneously”, He says director Ben Wheatley. “And this actually makes you think in a different way.”
Daisies is a surreal comedy-drama directed by Vera Chytilová and a key work of the Czech New Wave; follows two women, both named Marie (played by Ivana Karbanova Y Jitka Cerhova), as they get into a series of strange situations. The film is also a political satire. The Maries routinely embarrass authority figures, especially the various uptight middle-aged men they encounter.
The film has been interpreted as a criticism of Soviet Czechoslovakia and authoritarianism in general. Unsurprisingly, the communist government banned it for years, but it still found its way to the West. Janus Films released a 4K restoration for Daisies at the beginning of this year. It packs a host of extravagance into its meager 76-minute runtime.
‘3 Women’ (1977)
3 women is a police drama directed by Robert Altman. He might be better known for Nashville, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Y MIXTURE. Explore the mysterious relationship between two roommates, played by Shelley Duvall Y ladybug spacek. Along the way, the film contains some intense dream images.
The characters themselves live a dreamlike existence. It is unclear what is real and what is not, and even their personalities seem to merge with each other. It’s unlike anything else in Altman’s filmography. “I’m trying to come up with an image that is totally emotional, not narrative or intellectual,” Altman has said on 3 women. “Where an audience comes out and can’t say anything but what they feel.”
‘Easy Rider’ (1969)
pedro fonda Y dennis hopper Star in this highway drama as two motorcyclists who travel across the United States with money from a drug deal. Along the way, they meet a cast of intriguing characters and explore the changing cultural landscape of hippies, communes and drugs. A lot of drugs. There’s a particularly mind-blowing sequence that takes place in a graveyard.
Quentin Tarantino I call easy rider “the best example of 60s cinema in every way […] finally a movie and the counterculture connected with each other. Capture the ’60s in a tangible way. If you were trying to describe the ’60s in terms of movies to someone, you could show them easy rider and never have to show them anything else.”
‘The Congress’ (2013)
The congress is one of the most unique and transgressive films of the last decade. stars robin wright as herself in the near future where a hallucinogenic drug allows people to live in an idealized fantasy world. The film begins as live action, but later switches to animation to depict the drug-evoked visions. It is directed by the Israeli filmmaker. Ari Follmanwho also made the animated war movie Waltz with Bashir.
The film has a gripping plot and great performances, but more than that, it’s an insightful commentary on topics like online worlds and curated personalities. The fantasy world of the film is a beautiful place where the sky really is the limit. Anyone can be anything at any time. Folman’s genius is in showing that this place is also threatening and deeply sad.
‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ (1998)
“We can’t stop here, this is bat land!” Johnny Depp Y Benicio, the bull stars in this legendary road trip movie, based on the novel by the gonzo journalist hunter s thompson. The duo consume copious amounts of drugs while traveling through the Nevada desert, from mescaline to LSD. After Duke (Depp) takes acid, he hallucinates in the hotel lobby, thinking the clerk is a brunette and the other guests are lizards.
It bears the insane and blackly comic imprint of the director. Terry Gilliamformer member of Monty Python and director of the equally surreal sci-fi Brazil. It took a loss at the box office, but has rightfully become a classic. It remains a career highlight for its lead actors.
‘Yellow Submarine’ (1968)
This animated film was made to accompany The Beatles‘ album of the same name, a contractual obligation. It has a fantastic plot: The Beatles are recruited by a submarine captain to rescue Pepperland from the domination of the music-hating Blue Meanies. Art director heinz edelmanSurreal animation influenced Terry Gilliam and School Rock!
co-founder of Pixar John Lasseter he has also cited the film as an inspiration. “Visually speaking, Yellow Submarine perfectly captures the antiwar, counterculture, psychedelic spirit of the 1960s,” he explains. “For kids like me, who were too young to directly experience what was happening in that generation, the film communicated the look and feel of the time in a way we could understand.”
‘Fantastic Planet’ (1973)
On a distant planet, giant blue humanoids called Traags rule and treat humans like animals. The film follows two people who try to replicate Traag technology so they can escape the planet for good. The film has a vivid aesthetic, courtesy of the director. rene laloux and illustrator roland toporcollaborator of the experimental filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky.
The animation style is reminiscent of the cut-out style designed by Terry Gilliam for the Monty Python movies. But take this look to new levels of weirdness. No other movie is quite like this one. almost fifty years later, fantastic planet It’s still amazing as a unique fantasy world.
‘Life Awake’ (2001)
Richard LinklaterHis most intriguing project is this rotoscoped experimental film comprised of a series of philosophical conversations about consciousness, free will, the nature of reality, and the meaning of life. It’s like a dorm room conversation between some very smart (and very stoned) college students.
waking life it’s also replete with references to Linklater’s movies like Vague and the Before dawn trilogy. ethan hawke Y julie delpy they appear for a scene, where they discuss relationships. Linklater appears at the end for a final conversation with the main character. roger ebert included waking life on his list of Great Movies, calling him “a cold shower of invigorating and clarifying ideas.”
‘The Holy Mountain’ (1973)
the holy mountain is a film by the eccentric visionary Alejandro Jodorowsky. It follows an alchemist who leads a group of characters up a mountain in search of enlightenment. It is a psychedelic film both in the story and in the images. It has some similarities with Jodorowsk’y acid western. The mole but it is more satirical and political. According to r/movies, it’s “pretty much the weirdest movie ever.”
the holy mountain was produced by the Beatles’ manager allen klein after John Lennon Y George Harrison they had become fans of Jodorowsky’s earlier work. It’s certainly not for everyone, but the right viewers will enjoy it. Jodorowsky fans, or anyone who wants to learn more about him, should also check out Jodorowsky Dunethe excellent documentary about the unique filmmaker.
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