“You can’t stop a dancing people!” After two years of pandemic, summer finally marks the return of concerts, festivals and free parties with the famous slogan. Even if these parties remain controversial. By nature illegal, they bring together, in fields or abandoned sites, hundreds of partygoers, lovers of techno music, saturated bass, but also alcohol and drugs… Hence the presence also very often on site , a stand of the Techno association and its emblematic flyers on “reducing risks in the festive environment”.

Behind this administrative title lies an astonishing adventure. To celebrate the association’s 25th anniversary, director Judith du Pasquier followed some of its members in the field, between 2018 and 2021, and met key witnesses. She brings back an intelligent documentary, which offers, through an immersion in these evenings dominated by the desire to have fun, a substantiated reflection on the consumption of narcotics.

Dealing with “bad trips”

Honor to the volunteers, the film opens with the preparations for a “free”. At night, in the mist, in the light of the headlamps and with the characteristic “boom boom” sound. Charlotte Raffi enumerates the offer by categories: drugs that are snorted, those that are injected, those that “gobble”, hallucinogens… The list is long. Later, the camera finds these volunteers during trainings where they learn to deal with “uphill” violence and bad trips. The objective has remained the same since the beginning: to anticipate so as not to “spoil the party”.

This is what prompted Thierry Charlois to co-found Techno in July 1995, when the arrival of LSD was causing panic. Since then, the team has continued, punctuated by recognitions (including the first grant from the Ministry of Health, in 1997), crises and legal disputes. To talk about it – in front of a miniature black and white police van –, Jean-Christophe Timoczko, lawyer for the association.

Against the background of photos and videos – too short – of parties, the speakers follow one another. Among them, Ombline Pimond, current president of Techno, and Jean-Michel Costes, former director of the French Observatory of Drugs and Drug Addiction (1995-2020), whose eyes sparkle at the mention of his first mission “in a festive event “Even without substance, one could be carried away.” »

He is one of those who contributed the most to changing drug legislation, with Nicole Maestracci, member of the Constitutional Council since 2013, until his death on April 22, 2022. “There is no society without drugs , she assured. On the other hand, there are effective responses to avoid dangerous consumption and reduce the risks. The film is dedicated to him.