Documentary review – Bufo Alvarius, The Underground Secret

 

A few days ago, i was fortunate enough to attend a public screening of Bufo Alvarius, The Underground Secret, in a great little cinema in Prague called Kino Pilotu, where i sat down with director Filip Zaruba, for a quick chat. It was nice to see it on a proper screen (i had seen it before on a laptop, and it just wasn’t the same at all), the production quality is flawless, but the reason i went there was actually to meet with Filip. If you have the opportunity to see it in a cinema, i really recommend you take it.

 

Filip Zaruba is the director of the documentary Bufo Alvarius The Underground Secret

 

The documentary is structured into the five following parts :

 

Part 1 kicks off with a very credible figure in psychedelics & psychology, none other than Stanislav Grof himself :

Grof inevitably brings weight & credibility to the movie. He’s old, he’s respected, he’s written countless books. He’s reassuring. 😉

Part 2, on the other hand, gives us Dr Octavio Rettig, the Bufo ‘shaman’ featured prominently throughout most of the movie. Like many people who are familiar with this substance, and with the actual profession of being a Bufo facilitator, i was a bit miffed to see that the documentary featured only ONE facilitator, when there are so many facilitators out there.

Of course, i don’t expect to be asked to be in a documentary, i’m not famous enough for that (plus i would not do that unless i could remain anonymous), but there are tons of guys out there doing this. Why are we shown only ‘Octavio’, as he is known, and not at least 2 or 3 more? For over a year i wondered if the movie was not merely some sort of paid advertisement for Octavio. And this is where i am really grateful to have been able to chat with the director, Filip Zaruba. While i cannot share 100% of what he has told me, having spoken at length with him, i am convinced of his sincerity and best intentions. As the FAQ on the movie’s website mentions, the aim was not to advertise Octavio but rather to advertise Bufo. And the person who financed the movie, one of the Czech Republic’s wealthiest men, really doesn’t need to make any more cash, neither does he need Octavio to make any more cash. 😉

Crazy frog? Wise toad!

So, no, despite what various people have suggested, the movie’s ‘bias’ isn’t bias at all: no one else wanted to be in the movie.
The only other facilitator who would have been ok to appear was ‘Dr Gerry’ (Geraldo Sandoval), an alleged rapist, fraud, liar and full-on psycho. Unfortunately for famous Dr Gerry, who just served Mike Tyson (Mike, you could have done some research, maybe?), the director was already aware by then of some of the allegations against Gerry, and did not want him in the movie.
What the director was apparently not aware of, however, were the allegations against Dr Octavio Rettig. Allegations of death, comas, traumatised people, electroshocks, waterboarding and i’m only just getting warmed up here. But more on that later.

Two people who have a very misled understanding of how the Bufo medicine works. Misled by Octavio Rettig’s oversized ego. 😉

Truth be told, Octavio is such a prominent figure, so well marketed & advertised, that it is very difficult to figure out he is such a nutcase. Just earlier today, a guy in Spain asking me for advice on Bufo & Ayahuasca brought up Octavio’s name and was shell-shocked when i told him what i knew. He was absolutely clueless about the deaths, or any of the other issues, for that matter. He is not the only one, and unless you are really bathing in this Bufo ‘culture’, it is very difficult to come across all of this information. Hence why i am coming out with the information i have received, at least the elements i am able to share with you (that’ll be in a second article, coming up very soon, about this famous Octavio character).

Doing research about someone as prominent is not easy, because you are inevitably going to be flooded with a lot of the stuff that is intended to be seen by you.

Octavio Rettig, on the left.

Today, in February 2019, things are different however, and even the director of the documentary is distancing himself from Octavio Rettig, now that more and more information is coming out, notably about the recent death of ‘Chely’ in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico, on October 5th 2018. I know, because i am the one who broke the news to the Bufo world in detail, being the only fluent speaker of English to actually know her personally, as well as the organisers of the event, and the widowed husband, plus at least one person who was there and testified with the police. I had served her 3 or 4 times myself, without issue. She presented no health contra-indications i am aware of, and seemed like a healthy 40 year old to me. Having served an 89 year old with heart problems without any issues, i am very surprised that Chely would die during Bufo. But of course with Octavio it is only rarely just Bufo, it’s also strong râpé, given to you in circumstances where you should definitely not be taking it.
But more on all that in my article on Octavio, coming soon. It is time people know, and time that those who do, speak up. Octavio is a menace and should either change his ways or just plain stop.

The big change recently is that, even amongst close friends of Octavio’s, people and organisers are speaking up against his methods. The World Bufo Alvarius Congress (WBAC) recently published a press release condemning Rettig’s ways. Then Dean Jefferys, of the closed Facebook group ‘Toad & 5-meo-forum & support’, also a friend of Octavio’s, came out with a similar statement, and relayed the WBAC’s own release. Both organisations bear friends of Octavio’s :  this had never been seen before, usually his friends would defend him no matter what. The wind has started to turn against Octavio, who can no longer even work in the Czech Republic, despite the massive publicity afforded to him by this documentary. He is also banned from Slovakia and Italy, i have been told.

A screenshot of one of the many fancy 3D animations in the movie

Anyway, back to the movie.

Now that we know why only Octavio is featured in there, there is really only a couple of things i’d say i didn’t like about the movie :

1) Dr Octavio Rettig is by no means a ‘shaman’, contrary to what is mentioned, he is just a showman with a messiah complex.
Moreover, i wouldn’t even really call him a ‘facilitator’ in that he doesn’t necessarily facilitate the experience at all. Yes, i know, i’m being picky here, but to me facilitating the experience is not compatible with electrocuting them or making them vomit for hours on râpé when all they wanted was to enjoy coming down from the Bufo experience.

2) None of Octavio’s “crazy ways” are shown in the movie. This, as i understand it now, is because the team simply didn’t know about them at the time of making the film. Unfortunately, it does show Octavio in a much more reasonable light than any documentary should, and so a volume 2 to this film might be a good idea.
Filip Zaruba mentioned to me that he would actually like to make a second movie, showing the scientific data, the risks, the good ways to facilitate, and so on. It sounds like he isn’t too comfortable with leaving this film as it is, without clarifying a few things in light of the recent statements on Rettig. And this is why i feel like Zaruba can be trusted : he is empathic towards the victims, and seems to feel uncomfortable drawing the masses towards such a dangerous facilitator as Octavio Rettig. My view of Zaruba is that he cares a whole lot more for the people, all people, than Octavio does. Rettig seems to care only about himself, and his recent statement, a reply to that of the WBAC, seems to confirm this: he never expresses any remorse, only blames the victims, boasts about what a great job he has done, and refuses to change his ways. Heck, he doesn’t even mention the victims, really. Octavio seems driven by pure ego.

 

As already mentioned, the movie is very well made, the quality of the filming and of the picture, the sound, the editing, everything is just flawless, if maybe a tad stereotypical of these ‘new age’ documentaries at times, but i’m really splitting hairs here.

I trust the director and the producer had nothing but the purest intentions when they set out to make this movie, and i do not believe they wished to promote Octavio as a facilitator. In fact, i’d like to bring your attention to their FAQ, which, if you read between the lines, may give you some wise tips. 😉

Hint: check the last line or two of their responses. IMO they are trying to tell you in a very very discreet way to avoid Octavio and ask yourself if he is humble and questioning himself or if he is better avoided. But that’s just my own interpretation, nothing more. Wink wink nudge nudge.

Conclusion

+ Well structured movie
+ Technically very good
+ Although no movie can possibly give anyone any idea what Bufo is like, this one does a good job at trying.
+ The movie seems motivated only by making this “sacred medicine” known, not by advertising anyone.

– Shows only one facilitator
– Octavio Rettig is misleadingly nice and reasonable in the movie, and none of his crazy ways are depicted
– He is presented as a ‘shaman’ when really he is just an egomaniac showman

So, overall, despite the minor gripes mentioned above, i would recommend you see the movie if you’re interested in knowing about Bufo, especially in a cinema. Just bear in mind that this particular facilitator, despite appearances, really is not a wise option and is much better avoided altogether. If you’d like me to recommend safer & better options, feel free to contact me privately.
Also, beware that screenings are very rapidly sold out, you’ll need to buy tickets well in advance. If you have no access to a cinema showing this, you can download it here.

If you liked this article, please subscribe to my blog, and you might enjoy my YouTube channel here. I cover several different “medicines” in 3 different languages.


Filip Zaruba has also asked me to include the following music video, so here it is :


Special thanks : Filip Zaruba, for taking the time to talk with me, and for permission to use all the images in this article.

Image

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