Alexander Sasha Shulgin is the scientist behind more than 200 psychedelic compounds including MDMA, more commonly known as Ecstasy. Considered to be one of the greatest chemists of the 20th century, Sasha s vast array of discoveries have had a profound impact in the field of psychedelic research, making him a subject of fascination and controversy among fellow scientists and a folk hero to recreational users of psychedelics.
Dirty Pictures uncovers the lifework of Dr. Shulgin and takes viewers inside his Northern California home where he lives with his wife of 40 years and continues to carry out experiments in a makeshift laboratory. Director Etienne Sauret likewise delves into the broader world of psychedelic research where the fields of chemistry, neuroscience and philosophy intersect and investigates whether or not this particular field could aid in solving the deepest mysteries of the human mind.
Working from a lab in his home, and using himself and his wife Ann as test subjects, Shulgin's discoveries have brought him into conflict with the law but made him a worldwide underground hero. The two books they co-authored, “Pihkal” and “Tihkal”, have built a foundation for cutting-edge neuroscience and medical research. DIRTY PICTURES examines the impact of Dr. Shulgin's lifelong quest to unlock the complexities of the human mind.