Hallucinating in the deep waters of consciousness

Mind Hacks

On Saturday I curated a series of short films about other inner worlds, altered states and the extremes of mental health at London’s Shuffle Festival. I discovered one of the films literally a couple of days before the event, and it completely blew me away.

Narcose is a French documentary about a dive by world champion free diver Guillaume Néry. It documents, in real time, a five minute dive from a single breath and the hallucinations he experiences due to carbon dioxide narcosis.

Firstly, the film is visually stunning. A masterpiece of composition, light and framing.

Secondly, it’s technically brilliant. The director presumably thought ‘what can we do when we have access to a community of free divers, who can hold their breath under water for minutes at a time?’ It turns out, you can create stunning underwater scenes with a cast of apparently water-dwelling humans.

But most…

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