Descending The Mountain

Documentary about an extraordinary scientific experiment in a Swiss mountain monastery: what happens when you give magic mushrooms to experienced Zen practitioners?

NB: After the screening there will be Q&A with director Maartje Nevejan via Zoom (in Dutch).
Time & Tickets

Fifty years after magic mushrooms were officially banned, a new story begins in what is already being called a psychedelic renaissance. On the last day of a classic five-day Zen session, monks are given a high dose of psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) or a placebo. What will this experiment teach us about the mystical experience of oneness with nature?

In 2020, the results of this experiment were published in the renowned scientific journal Nature. That this experiment could take place at all, is the result of the unique friendship between psychiatrist Franz Vollenweider and Zen-master Vanja Palmers, two pioneers in the psychedelic revolution of the last century, when psychedelics were still mostly associated with freedom and anti-establishment thinking. While in the year 2021 most research with psychedelics focuses on their promising medical applications, Frans and Vanja go one step further. Can the combination of meditation and psilocybin help mankind to get out of the mess we have brought upon the planet?

As in her previous film IK BEN ER EVEN NIET, director Maartje Nevejan works together with other visual artists to find a cinematic language for inner experiences. With artificial intelligence, animation and a hallucinating soundscape, she evokes a psychedelic experience in the viewer.

Maartje Nevejan, Switzerland, 2021, 78 min. English & German spoken, Dutch subtitles.
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