Gambling, Gods and LSD

Peter Mettler

Gambling, Gods and LSD
Clocking in at a nice, round 180 minutes, Peter Mettler's experimental documentary Gambling, Gods and LSD is certainly worthy of three hours out of your short, fragile life. It's a heady, transfixing meditation on the idea of meditation and transcendence itself. Just make sure you come to the theatre with a game attitude and a good night's sleep, as sometimes it's difficult to be this meditative without relaxing yourself into oblivion.

Whittled down from a 55-hour rough cut consisting of footage shot between late 1997 and early 1999, the movie follows various world events and non-events through Mettler's cycloptic lens, a sort-of celluloid third eye. In Toronto, his camera captures the enraptured convulsions of members of the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship Church. In Las Vegas, he visits a disturbingly articulate sex machine salesman, who designs self-contained pleasure units that recall devices of medieval torture. The banal neutrality of Mettler's native Switzerland is explored from self-cleaning public toilets to the "poodle racers" of Entlisberg, Zurich, and aspects of Indian society are documented from the silly to the sublime.

A close cousin of Chris Marker's seminal 1982 documentary Sans Soleil, the movie weaves in and around its various non-narratives, seducing the viewer with sound and vision that falls somewhere just short of the ecstatic. It also brings to mind the more story-bound musings of Richard Linklater's recent bong hit Waking Life. There are moments in this movie that truly inspire awe - most notably an unearthly shot of The Aladdin Hotel in Vegas imploding from the vantage point of a sleeping woman's hotel room across the street - and they are mixed with moments of banal beauty and glorious intricacy. Truth be told, for the modern-day heathen like me who feels watching a truly great movie is akin to a mini-spiritual awakening, Gambling, Gods and LSD is a lot like going to church. Just don't nod off in the front pew.
Get It


Coming back soon! If our developer were more machine than man they'd already be here. Useless meatsack.