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10 Psychedelic Movies To Travel to the Mind

Each mind has a unique way of processing the world and the more variety we have, there will be more horizons to explore. Do you dare watch these psychedelic films?

“The senses deceive from time to time, and it is prudent never to trust wholly those who have deceived us even once.” - Rene Descartes

The human mind is an enigma and the ultimate architect of our world. How does perception work? What are the limits of the mind? Is there something beyond our own consciousness that we can’t detect? These questions gave birth to the psychedelic movement.

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Our curiosity about the world and the inner workings of our bodies has led us to try out different substances that create new experiences and answers. Some brave people have leaped to the unknown with the help of these substances and brought back those experiences to the physical world.

Painters, movie markers, writers, and musicians have worked to bring to light their psychedelic experiences and left behind an important legacy. Many of their genius works have gained a cult following, as it occurs, for instance, with Pink Floyd’s The Wall. These films show that you don’t have to ingest the substances to heighten your senses.

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The Holy Mountain (1973), Alejandro Jodorowsky

Jodorowsky’s films are known for breaking barriers and leading the viewer into a state of heightened sensitivity. With films like El Topo in his repertoire, The Holy Mountain catapulted Jodorowsky as a titan in esoteric cinema. With an unusual protagonist, a vagabond, this film becomes an interplanetary journey to the secret chambers of the mind.

Fantastic Planet (1973). René Laloux

Being of French origin, you will not be surprised by the extravagance and innovation of Fantastic Planet. It is an animation that broke the barriers imposed for decades that linked animation with children’s stories. This film baffles many since it takes on the complex subject of the human mind with all its twists and turns.

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Enter the Void (2009), Gaspar Noé

A dealer, a gunshot, and an out-of-body experience are the three premises that define the film. Enter the Void is based on a subjective point of view, which means it is easy to track the mental journeys of the protagonist and relate with him.

Across The Universe (2007), Julie Taymor

Accompanied with music by the Beatles and entertaining visual proposals, this musical show will bring out the experimental hippie in you.

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Alice (1988), Jan Svankmajer

Svankmajer is one of the most underrated filmmakers of our time, and he should be known to the world as an incredible stop motion creator. This version pays homage to Alice in Wonderland, and it will certainly make you wonder about the mind’s journeys.

The Fall (Alexandria’s Dream)(2006), Tarsem Singh

With more surrealist tones than psychedelic, Singh’s film can’t be ignored, and it is a bit annoying that few know of his work. Also known as Alexandria’s Dream, this film transports you to a seductive universe where the most beautiful resource of the human mind is put to use: the imagination. The landscapes are taken from the imaginings of a small girl who injures her arm and is recuperating in hospital.

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Pink Floyd — The Wall (1982), Alan Parker

This is the most famous psychedelic film of all time. This film, born from Roger Waters’ ideas, invites you to break the wall and see things as they truly are without euphemisms. The film employs a great number of visual analogies that break away from the normal. If the mind on its own can travel with only Pink Floyd’s music, imagine the worlds you can see if you add to its ad hoc visual elements.

Altered States (1980), Ken Russell

William Blake once wrote, “If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern.” Blake alludes to the Dialogues of Plato that served as a source of inspiration for Aldous Huxley. This cavern perfectly suits the film, which is a reflection of what happens when someone decides to explore the impossible: time through genetic memory.

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The Cell (2000), Tarsem Singh

Starring Jennifer Lopez, this film is without a doubt a psychological thriller masterpiece. The film proposes a story where science is so advanced that it allows a person to enter the mind of another and see how they consciously and unconsciously work. The gripping aspect of the film is that the protagonist must venture into the mind of a sadistic murderer.

This Is Not A Movie (2010), Olallo Rubio

This film breaks all stereotypes of what a film and script should be, just as its title states, This Is Not A Movie. It denounces the system as a monstrous Big Brother to whom people are unaware they belong to it.

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Paprika (2006), Satoshi Kon

It is rumored that this Japanese animation served as a source of inspiration for the film that four years later Leonardo DiCaprio would star in: Inception. Satoshi Kon’s Paprika is an intriguing and complex film with alternative realities layered one on top of the other.

The psychedelic allows you to flee and escape the physical world and connect with the interior one. The “I” in all of us has very interesting things to say and show us. Each mind has a unique way of processing the world, and the more variety we have, the more horizons there will be to explore. Do you dare watch these films?

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Written by: Paola Iridee

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