Welcome to a wonderful Alice film produced in 1971 by the US Department of Health Education. Its funny to see how its supposed educational anti-drugs message is almost silenced by the creative dynamics of colors, and rhythms and sounds. We know how much the explorations of connections between Alice and drugs have induced misunderstandings, prejudices and stereotypes, but also open paths to jump into an imagery of surreal dreamscapes, opening minds to other realities and states of consciousness and desires of transformation.
This is an amazingly beautiful Alice journey into psychedelic wanderlands. If the text suggests a moral, the images invites us to a trippy and daring play of animation, moving sensual environments, collages mixing drawings and photographs in unpredictable angles and points of view, suggesting a permanent disturbance of gravity and consensual realistic representations. It is a lovelier and mad and curiouser invitation for enigmagic innerlands. At the end we can recognize that it overcomes all drug connections revealing the playfulness of art and imagination itself in its call for freedom and joy.
"She ate a little bit, and said anxiously to herself, `Which way? Which way?', holding her hand on the top of her head to feel which way it was growing, and she was quite surprised to find that she remained the same size: to be sure, this generally happens when one eats cake, but Alice had got so much into the way of expecting nothing but out-of-the-way things to happen, that it seemed quite dull and stupid for life to go on in the common way."
Alice in Wonderland
"In the 1972 publication, Drug Abuse Films, the National Coordinating Council on Drug Education (NCCDE) criticized Curious Alice for being confusing and potentially counterproductive to drug abuse education. In the report, the NCCDE, an independent organization that received funding from NIMH, evaluated scores of films for scientific accuracy and effectiveness. The review panel classified Curious Alice as “restricted”, writing that young viewers “may be intrigued by the fantasy world of drugs” and that it should only be presented with a “very skilled facilitator” in order to “probe for the drug attitudes” of an elementary school class. (In other words, teachers, don’t bother trying to use this film to get kids to stay away from drugs because it’ll require way too much extra work on your part.) For the record, Curious Alice was by no means singled out for criticism– the NCCDE recommended only about 16% of the films they reviewed for widespread use"
continue reading: The Curious Case of Curious Alice
"Alice and the 1960s were a natural mix - the radical world-view they shared, the identifications with the bizarre, surreal, the anti-authoritarian - and both enjoyed a fine sense of humor. Alice and her friends, particularly the hookah-smoking caterpillar, became popular icons in this decade, spawning posters, belt-buckles, blotter paper "acid", books (Thomas Fensch's fallacious Alice in Acidland, Barnes, 1970) and rock songs ("White Rabbit") by people who clearly never read the book. More unfortunately, some of the deluded populace were unable to believe that a writer could be inspired by the creative imagination alone, and so quite erroneously imputed drug use to this mild-mannered Victorian clergyman who never touched anything stinger than sherry."
President of Lewis Carroll Society of North America
foreword to "Alice's Adventures under Ground" by Lewis Carroll.
San Francisco: Cottage Classics, 2000.