Hot Docs 2015: The Creeping Garden (Capsule Review)

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Slime mould. Two words I would have never fathomed taking up residence in my brain, but here we are. Thanks to Tim Grabham and Jasper Sharp’s The Creeping Garden, it is one of the first things that formulates in my mind whenever I step outside. Though they are not easily spotted by the common eye, the fact that these distant relatives of fungi are lurking in the woods is enough to send shivers down the spine. It does not help that Grabham and Sharp use time-lapse photography to evoke an eerie, and oddly hypnotic, feel to the movements of these blob-like organisms.

Rather than piecing together the type of film that one would expect to see in a high school science class, The Creeping Garden uses the plasmodial slime mould as a jumping off point to veer into various topics such as art, science and even film history. As if the star of its own nerdy version of the six degrees of Kevin Bacon game, the often underappreciated slime mould have garnered quite a following amongst the diverse selection of scientists and artists featured in the film. The Creeping Garden introduces the audience to a researcher who uses a maze to show the fast learning nature of the mould, an amateur mycologists who spends hours searching for slime mould in the woods, a scientist who questions if humans are indeed more intelligent than slime moulds, and a film historian who connects early film projectors with the study of tiny organisms and insects. All this makes for an oddly fascinating film that is far more engaging than one would assume based on the subject matter.

Screens
Saturday, May 2, 8:30 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox

Tickets can be purchased at the Hot Docs website.