At as soon as earthy and magical, fungi not solely hyperlink us to the origins of life itself but additionally open doorways to alternate realms of consciousness. In Marion Neumann’s loose-limbed documentary, simply the most recent in a string of movies that opine on its enigma, the mushroom may even save the world.
In contrast with the surreal time-lapse images of Louie Schwartzberg’s Fantastic Fungi (2019) or the country allure of Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw’s The Truffle Hunters (2020), Neumann’s strategy is extra free-wheeling and eccentric. Interviews with a large host of fungi lovers – who embody scientists, culinary specialists and devoted lovers – delve into the generative energy of mushrooms with vigour and optimism. Contemplating that the cultivation of fungal cultures has allowed us to ease our bodily illnesses in addition to restore broken ecosystems, the movie posits that, past a transactional relationship, people may mannequin our behaviours after the virtues of the mushroom. Mycelium, the phrase that describes the thread-like construction of fungal colonies, is usually introduced up, suggesting that humanity ought to aspire to such interconnectedness within the face of accelerating ecological disasters.
The conventionally shot skilled interviews are juxtaposed with extra summary photographs, which zoom in on germinating spores or vibrant moulds rising in laboratory dishes. Directly alienating and acquainted, the unusual magnificence of those kaleidoscopic types brings to thoughts the experimental quick movies of Stan Brakhage; as a substitute of a voiceover, these sequences are stamped as a substitute with Neumann’s philosophical, poetic captions that muse on the transcendental qualities of the mushroom. The persistence, care and sheer awe that emanate from how Neumann observes these fungal configurations is inspirational, nudging us to examine our surrounding setting with the identical rigour and curiosity.