SXSW Film

Daily reviews and interviews

Dirty Pictures

Documentary Feature, Documentary Competition
D: Etienne Sauret; with Dr. Alexander Shulgin

Many attribute the discovery of the drug MDMA to Dr. Alexander "Sasha" Shulgin. But as Etienne Sauret's documentary Dirty Pictures shows, the chemist did not invent Ecstasy – just a use for the previously discarded compound. The film outlines Sasha and his wife Ann's controversial careers synthesizing and ingesting hallucinogens to better understand the nature of the mind. The film also features the work of Dr. David Nichols of Purdue University, perhaps the world's most renowned expert on LSD, as well as Sasha's unlikely friend, fellow chemist and retired DEA agent Robert Sager. The film approaches the subject matter honestly. It highlights why hallucinogens interest Sasha and his colleagues, as well as Sasha's disapproval of the popularization of MDMA as "Ecstasy": a recreational rave drug. Through cataloging the Shulgins' life together, Sauret initiates a conversation about the war on drugs, the potential for life after death, and what it means to be human.


Friday, March 19, 5:30pm, Ritz 2

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
SXSW Film Releases Full Feature Lineup
SXSW Film Releases Full Feature Lineup
Slate includes everyone from Wes Anderson to the Zellners

Monica Riese, Jan. 30, 2014

Mindy Kaling Comes to SXSW
Mindy Kaling Comes to SXSW
The comedian and showrunner will speak March 9

Monica Riese, Jan. 21, 2014

More Screens
Austin Artist Brings Gamera to Vibrant Life in a New Box Set
Austin Artist Brings Gamera to Vibrant Life in a New Box Set
Matt Frank builds the perfect monster

Richard Whittaker, Aug. 28, 2020

SXSW Film
SXSW Film Reviews: 'The Network'
Daily Reviews and Interviews

Anne S. Lewis, March 15, 2013

More by Ashley Moreno
Moontower 2019 Review: Amanda Seales
Moontower 2019 Review: Amanda Seales
Her wide-ranging set proved this comic can't be pigeonholed

April 30, 2019

Moontower 2019 Review: Hari Kondabolu
Moontower 2019 Review: Hari Kondabolu
This stand-up act balanced light humor and social issues

April 29, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Dirty Pictures

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle