reviewed by Marc Glassman
FLicKeR. Nik Sheehan, director & writer. Maureen Judge & Anita Lee, producers. Caroline Christie & Miume Jan Eramo, editors. Harald Bachman, cinematography. Based on the book by John Geiger. Featuring: Kenneth Anger, Marianne Faithful, John Giorno, Richard Metzger, Genesis P-Orridge, DJ Spooky, Iggy Pop, Ira Silverberg, John Geiger, Floria Sigismondi
Performance artist, poet, painter, novelist and inventor, Brion Gysin may well be the most unusual Canadian artist of all time. Raised in Alberta, he departed to France and Morocco in the ‘30s, never to return.
Expelled from Paris’ Surrealist movement by its founder Andre Breton, Gysin became part of a group of artistic exiles in the ‘50s, which included William S. Burroughs and Paul Bowles. The inventor of the cut-up, a collage/montage technique perfected by Burroughs, Gysin found lasting notoriety with the Dreamachine, a revolving light box, which induced trance-like states in many individuals.
Nik Sheehan, a superb cultural documentarian, has made his finest film in FLicKeR. He does a masterful job of framing Gysin’s obscure but fascinating career through his greatest success, a machine that has hypnotized — or at least inspired — Iggy Pop, Genesis P-Orridge and Marianne Faithful. Using the moving image of the flickering light machine, Sheehan has crafted his own dazzling tale — of Gysin and his wonderful works. This is a fine doc, one worthy of box-office attendance and support.