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Films by Sandoz and Médecine/Cinéma

Research at Academy of Performing Arts in Prague

The project maps a unique theme of film history — the corpus of arthouse films produced by the pharmaceutical company Sandoz. The Sandoz laboratories, founded in 1886, were the first to synthetize LSD and engaged in its research and production until as late as 1960s, the period during which the films under question were produced. Since the end of 1950s, the company even featured a specialized institution, Cinémathèque Sandoz, which was in charge of the production of specific artistic works with fine arts qualities. Cinémathèque Sandoz brought together a group of remarkable personalities –e.g., the man of letters and fine artist Henri Michaux, the director Éric Duvivier, the nephew of Julien Duvivier, or the director Jean-Daniel Pollet — and thus created, from the both period and contemporary perspective, a unique platform for the production of arthouse films. The project introduces an interdisciplinary exploration of the surprising, yet underresearched phenomenon of film history, which combines seemingly inconsistent fields, such as surrealist film, pharmaceutical industry, the production of Henri Michaux, and the production of LSD.

The project was supported by the Student Grant Competition, Academy of Performing Arts, Prague in 2016, 2018 and 2020.

Team leader & members

MgA. Lea Petřikova (Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague)

Selected publications

  • The principal project result is an expert article in English focusing on the image of Sandoz’s art films, and the study is scheduled for publication in Journal of Psychedelic Studies.
  • The study “Umělecké filmy pordukované farmaceutickou společností Sandoz” was published in Iluminace revue in 2017 and is available to read (in Czech) here.
  • “Sandoz Film production in Novartis Archives,” Cahiers d’histoire du Cnam 12 (2019): 159-171. E-Print.
  • “Psychedelic Sandoz,” Cahiers d’histoire du Cnam 12 (2019): 173-180. E-Print.


Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague
Center for Audiovisual Studies (CAS)
Smetanovo nabrezi 2
116 65 Prague
Czech Republic

More information


Akademie múzických umění v Praze