Crystal Fairy & The Magical Cactus is a 2013 Chilean adventure, comedy film starring Michael Cera and Gabby Hoffmann (Crystal Fairy), which was written and directed by Sebastián Silva.
At the film’s Sundance premiere, Silva said that his film, which is based on a real-life encounter, is “about the birth of compassion in someone’s life.”
The movie mainly revolves around a young American, Jamie (Michael Cera), on his mission to find and experience the hallucinogenic cactus San Pedro. The night before he embarks on this journey, he meets a fellow American who goes by Crystal Fairy (Gaby Hoffmann) and invites her to come along while under the influence. The following day, he comes to regret this decision and makes sure she feels his off-put for the film’s duration. “The trip that ensues is a mix of absurdity, social observation, and primal comedy. The plan is to obtain a mescaline-loaded San Pedro cactus, which shamans have used for 3,000 years, then drive to a desert beach and trip out like never before.”
As mentioned above, Silva based the movie on true events and has a casual, very real feel to it. The film’s layout did not follow a structure but rather was one long improvisation. Silva’s brothers (Juan Andrés Silva, José Miguel Silva and Agustín Silva) join Jamie on his mescaline mission. In an interview, Silva says that the cast actually drank the San Pedro brew but didn’t feel the effect, possibly due to self-consciousness about being filmed. The only one who had a psychedelic experience was the actress Gaby Hoffmann, who is apparently as easy going in real life as we get to know her in the film.
I really love Crystal Fairy & The Magical Cactus, which has taken on a completely different meaning and understanding since watching it after the creation of Funga. Michael Cera does a phenomenal job at playing the tourist who comes to South America in desperate search of getting high without any consideration of the sacredness and history attached to the San Pedro cactus. I feel that, especially at this moment, this film is relevant as psychedelic exploration is getting more and more popular and tourists are traveling to native countries in search of similar objectives. Crystal Fairy is such an important counter to Jamie, as she teaches him and the viewer a much better and more respectful way to approach sacred medicine and life in general. As out there as she is, one can find many lessons in her attitude and energy. “It is a very uplifting, fun movie that talks about the importance of compassion and friendship.” (Sebastián Silva)