THIS WEEK'S REVIEW
An odd mix of speculative science-fiction, avant garde music and hypnotic time-lapse photography, The Creeping Garden (2014) is a documentary that proves to be about as shapeless as its subject: plasmodial slime molds. Neither fungus or animal, this obscure organism can reach speeds of up to 1.35mm per second, spreading out its brightly colored tendrils to reach the nutrients it needs to survive, spoor and propagate itself once again. When viewed under the microscope, director Tim Grabham and Jasper Sharps' film becomes a psychedelic landscape of shapes, colors and brilliantly organic design. But once the subject shifts to those researchers, artists and amateur mycologists who use slime molds as a pet project, the pace begins to...well...creep. Opening with a 1973 CBS news report of mysterious "blobs" discovered in Texas that dissolved after a few days, The Creeping Garden hooks you with early hints of a mysterious and complex creature existing right under our noses. Easily mistaken for just another mossy bump under a log, slime molds actually move with a series of complex amoeba-like communal actions, sometimes resulting in a slug-shaped ooze that looks like it could have crashed from outer space. This unusual activity has attracted the attention of an equally unusual group of slime mold "fans." The film spreads out into several areas of research, including slime mold computer networks, slime mold mapping, slime mold musicians, slime mold role-playing and slime mold works of art. Some subjects hold your attention more than others, but none of the on-camera interviewees can hold a candle to the magnified slime mold footage itself. Set to the droning tones created by Jim O'Rourke (a Sonic Youth and Wilco collaborator, among others), The Creeping Garden functions best as next-generation lava lamp, navigating rat mazes and spreading across maps of the globe with primordial intelligence. Part of the new Arrow Academy line, the Blu-ray / DVD combo comes with a huge slate of supporting featurettes focusing on feeding habits, slime model animations and a further look into the Fungarium, one the best segments of the feature film. There are also four short films mixing art, science and biocomputer music, plus an audio commentary from Grabham and Sharp. The first pressing also includes a collectible booklet and, best of all, a bonus CD containing the rearranged soundtrack by O'Rourke so you can have your own slime mold dance party!

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Commentary  I   Featurettes  I  Trailer

Gallery  I  Bonus CD Soundtrack

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45 YEARS

INTERIORS