Tuesday, 13 April 2010

'I'm addicted to chaos. Things in my life are going very smoothly. I'm not using anymore, but I need to get my hands dirty.'

I'm Dangerous with Love
Dir. Michel Negroponte
(Blackridge Productions, 2009)

This documentary follows a man called Dimitri, a reformed drug addict who now helps other addicts kick their addiction with his own brand of ibogaine therapy. Ibogaine is a psychoactive indoel alkaloid, in non-scientific terms: you vomit and hallucinate for up to several hours and miraculously somehow the ibogaine can remove a person's addiction – sometimes it doesn't work as the film shows.

Dimitri is one rock n' roll cowboy, being a reformed addict himself through ibogaine treatment, the man travels the country plying his ibogaine treatment. Of course his services come at price, and what he is doing is illegal in America, it's not a traditional 9-5. Dimitri is a fascinating character, a guy who seemed to party hard throughout 90s in some crazy psychedelic band, the man has also lost his girlfriend to heroine. This guy has seen a lot, the title quote are his words, and we the audience are taken on his journey, we meet different addicts Dimitri is treating; men, women, poor and poorer - all addicts, all suffering, all desperate for Dimitri's help. In Canada, Dimitri's treatment almost fucks up badly, we don't know want happens to one of Dimitri's patients, but he almost dies, whether it's cardiac arrest, withdrawal, we never know and Dimitri never knows. In the aftermath of this harrowing event, Dimtri goes to Africa to learn more about the origins of ibogaine, this is a fascinating journey as Dimtri takes part in some ibogaine ritual with a tribe – Dimitri suffers, it's harrowing, amusing and impressive. Dimitri is a confused a man, a ball of energy, he's obviously got a new addiction in helping treat addicts. The African journey, shows a commitment and fundamental belief Dimitri has in ibogaine – this you can't knock, and maybe you admire Dimitri a little for this.

Michel Negroponte provides a wonderfully sarcastic voice-over throughout film, he claims it's meant to add humour to the film's dark content, seeing a guy's heroine withdrawal I guess ain't Disney, but his voiceover really makes the whole experience of watching the film a little more uncomfortable. This isn't a criticism, the sarcasm, the epic journey we go on with Dimitri, really puts you on the edge of your seat as we watch this story unravel. Michel is obviously a committed film maker, spending four years filming Dimitri, travelling to Africa and becoming friends with his subject and even taking ibogaine to experience the hallucinogenic trip. There are similarities between Michel and Dimitri, two men committed to a cause, Michel making his film and Dimitri to his ibogaine. This film is a story about Dimitri and his commitment to spearheading an ibogaine movement not a fact finding mission into the scientific perils of ibogaine. Leaving the science out of it, the film is fascinating, wrong, uncomfortable and quite remarkable as Dimitri takes us with him.

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