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GRASS

USA, 1999 (MIFF 2000, Documentaries)

Director: Ron Mann

Ron Mann's long overdue project is an hilarious and illuminating film about one of the most controversial drugs of the twentieth century—marijuana. Weed activist Woody Harrelson narrates this laugh-out-loud look at the misguided policies of a succession of paranoid US governments, who proclaim, "If you smoke it, you will go insane'. Utilising rare archival footage, which wonderfully documents anti-marijuana hysteria, together with the psychedelic comic strips of underground cartoonist Paul Mavrides, Grass is a darkly comic tale that complements the classic film, Reefer Madness. In film clips, committed opponents to marijuana, such as Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan exhibit a surprisingly profound knowledge of the substance. Also appearing are Robert Mitchum and musician Gene Krupa, who were two early victims of the government's criminal prosecution of users. The soundtrack includes new songs from ex-Devo member Mark Mothersbaugh, as well as classics, Reefer Man and One Toke Over the Line. Mann's previous film, Twist (MIFF 1993), had them dancing in the aisles. How will audiences react this time?

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