Dangerous Minds continues at De Balie in April with the screening of the latest and most exhaustive documentary dedicated to the discovery and history of LSD.

After documentaries about visionary futurology, the 60’s Black Panther Party and technological progress VS sustainability, it is now time to discuss the impact of the discovery of LSD on 60+ years of counter-culture (and military as much as medical research).

The screening will be introduced by medical historian and psychoactive substances researcher Stephen Snelders.

Thursday 12 April 20.00h at De Balie Amsterdam. Be there or be square!



Martin Witz – Switzerland – 2011

In 1943, the year in which the first A-bomb was built, Albert Hofmann discovered LSD ­– a substance that was to become an A-bomb of the mind. Fractions of a milligram are enough to turn our framework of time and space upside down.

THE SUBSTANCE tells the story of a drug – its discovery in the Basle chemistry lab, the first experiments by Albert Hofmann on himself, the 1950s experiments of the psychiatrists, the consciousness researchers, the artists.

In the Cold War, the US Army begins their systematic experiments with human beings – LSD as a weapon. And then, in the early 1960s, the “miracle drug” escaped from the lab. The psychedelic drug seemed to be tailor-made for drop-outs of the affluent society: the hippies, the protest movement – the counter-culture. The drug apostle Timothy Leary proclaimed his famous line of “Turn on, tune in, drop out!” and hundreds of thousands followed him into a true LSD euphoria. LSD as the fuel of the rebellion?  As a source of free thinking that led even to the development of an independent, ground-breaking computer technology?

Only Albert Hofmann, in the eye of the hurricane, calmly kept on researching. The Swiss scientist had long become a natural philosopher, a quiet visionary of holism.

In 2007 the Swiss Federal Agency for Health once again gave a green light for the clinical use of hallucinogenic substances. LSD as a palliative remedy to provide some relief from the fear that terminally ill patients have of dying? In the year of his 100th birthday Albert Hofmann’s most fervent wish is fulfilled: after for decades of banishment, his “problem child,” as he called it, found its way back into legality. And perhaps it will still become a wunderkind – a legal medication that alleviates human suffering?

THE SUBSTANCE is a journey through time in broad cinematic arcs, with archival material from private sources that have not been released before, newly processed international archives and principal witnesses of the historical events – and obviously Albert Hofmann, interviewed shortly before his death.

Could it actually be possible to find a path to the core of our human existence by means of a chemical?



“Martin Witz’s fascinating film traces the history of the drug, from its early tests, possibly military applications and to its eventual fame as drug-of-choice for the hippie generation, and it is a wonderfully mounted montage of archive footage and interviews that makes for compulsive viewing.” – Screen Daily




Dangerous Minds celebrates the radical and often controversial ideas set in motion by a number of iconoclast freethinkers.

This monthly film+lecture series joins together a complex cast of protagonists as diverse as non conformist philosophers,visionary scientists and militant organizations, presenting their ideas through five dedicated documentaries.

These critically acclaimed international documentaries are introduced by a selection of guest speakers.

About christianpazzaglia

I am a professional film programmer and multimedia curator based in Amsterdam (The Netherlands). I was born in Piacenza in 1974 and moved to The Netherlands in 1999. Since 2006, I am active as film programmer for film festivals and as curator of special audiovisual events for several festivals, cinemas, cultural venues, institutions and musea in The Netherlands and abroad. I am the founder of Cracking the Frame, the only regular program dedicated to art documentaries in The Netherlands and the artistic director of Cracking the Frame Presents, an expanded version of the program. I am also the co-founder of Plein les Yeux, the only French and Francophone film festival in The Netherlands. In 2007, I co-founded the live cinema project |Cine|Sonic|, a multimedia platform aimed at presenting silent and experimental films and videoart compositions with new electro-acoustic scores, with shows presented at Lowlands festival, 5 Days Off, EYE Film Institute, IDFA, Imagine Film Festival, Transylvania International Film Festival, Paradiso, Trouw and more. From 2008 to end 2010 I was Head of Cinema for SMART Project Space (now LAB111) in Amsterdam, managing and programming its two cinemas. Since 2011 I work as freelance programmer for a number of Amsterdam cinemas (EYE Film Institute, Rialto, De Balie, Uitkijk, Ketelhuis, Melkweg) and film festivals (Noordelijk Film Festival, PLAY Music & Film Festival / IDFA, See Me Hear Me, Balkan Snapshots..) and from January 2013 to June 2014 I was in charge of special film programs at Natlab/Plaza Futura in Eindhoven. Since 2016 I am programming Imagine Film Festival, one of the longer-running Dutch film festivals, and coordinating the programs of l’Échappée Belle, a newly established French cinémathèque based in Amsterdam.

Posted on April 3, 2012, in Dangerous Minds, Film Festival, Film Noir, Film Programming, Special Screening, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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