10 March 2017

ARROW ACADEMY PRESENTS: THE CREEPING GARDEN. (2014) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.




THE CREEPING GARDEN. (2014) DIRECTED BY TIM GRABHAM AND JASPER SHARP. SOUNDTRACK COMPOSED BY JIM O'ROURKE. 
STARRING VARIOUS SCIENTISTS AND ARTISTS:  MARK PAGNELL, HEATHER BARNETT, BRYN DENTINGER, TIM BOON, ANDREW ADAMATSKY, KLAUS-PETER ZAUNER, JEFF JONES, ELLA GALE AND EDUARDO RECK MIRANDA.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

'A REAL-LIFE SCIENCE-FICTION MOVIE EXPLORING A WORLD CREEPING RIGHT BENEATH OUR FEET, WHERE TIME AND SPACE ARE MAGNIFIED AND INTELLIGENCE REDEFINED...'

Science is the new sex. Haha, only kidding. Just trying to get your attention. But now that I have, I will say this. Scientists can be extremely sexy, and there are quite a few of 'em featured in this rather amazing documentary that at first I thought was going to be a sci-fi B-movie tribute. I was wrong. It's a close-up look at something whose existence I barely even acknowledged before I saw this film: slime mould...

Come again? I hear you say. Well, you can find slime mould in the garden or in woodland growing on trees or on dead logs and you'll know it by its colour. It stands out because it's yellow, orange or red against a background of woodland greens and browns and it's an intelligent organism or life system that, apparently, some science-y people just live to study. I could hardly believe how popular it is amongst the scientific community, hoyvin glavin...!

Speaking of Professor Frink from THE SIMPSONS, this is the very show where some of us, myself included, encountered slime mould for the first time. In the episode in which the kids of Springfield are stranded on an island and have to live like in the book LORD OF THE FLIES, Lisa Simpson, Springfield's chief vegetarian, opts to lick the slime off of tree bark for nourishment rather than dining on wild boar like the other kids. Granted, the slime doesn't taste as nice as hot cooked meat but it won't kill her either. Mmmmmm, such delicious slime...!

Anyway, scientists just love to grow this slime mould in their precious petri dishes and feed it a diet of its favourite carbohydrates. It likes and will gravitate towards the rice, porridge oats or pasta it's given, and in a pinch will chow down on the carbs from a dead insect, a moth for example.

An artist lady featured in the film has even been known to take her slime mould on holiday with her in its petri dish so it doesn't feel neglected. Now that's what I call devotion to one's art...!

Wait till you hear what else this artist does. Slime mould forms itself into the most marvellous patterns. Artist Lady creates the most incredible art out of the slime mould and also out of the most intimate of bodily functions.

Cheek swabs, cervical smears, even your red and white blood cells doing their thing can all be turned into gorgeous artistic creations with titles like ROSEBUD, YULETIDE and PEACH BLOSSOM. She calls it a tongue-in-cheek spin on interior design:

'You decorate your interior space with your, well, your own interior space...!' Cute, very cute.

Believe it or not, slime mould is a fascinating organism. By studying the way in which it takes the quickest, easiest, best and most direct route to its food source, you can engage in urban planning (working out the best use of available space), create a network of interconnecting roads or work out the fastest way to evacuate a building of its occupants in the event of fire.

It's hard to describe in words but slime mould is possibly the most talented of all moulds. Who needs BRITAIN'S GOT TALENT when you can have MOULDS' GOT TALENT...? Okay, so that idea probably won't fly with Simon Cowell and Co. but they'll make telly out of anything these days...!

We see a group of Dutch people in the film linking themselves together in the style of slime mould and 'following' a bunch of people holding up 'oats' placards. Why would anyone become slime mould voluntarily? Were they being threatened with excommunication from the scientific community if they refused to take part? Not a bit of it.

If I said that free T-shirts and beer were promised to the participants, would that make more sense and solve the mystery of why grown men and women would voluntarily turn themselves into something that's sort of a fungus but isn't exactly a fungus? Okay, so the T-shirts had the words BEING SLIME MOULD on them, but a free T-shirt is a free T-shirt, n'est ce pas...? These folks were all really into it too, being slime mould.

I loved the scientist who pokes about in woodland looking for different kinds of slime mould. People give him funny looks so he starts snapping pictures of nothing with his camera so he looks like he has a legitimate purpose for sneaking around in the bushes.

This cute scientist guy, who actually has a favourite mould, can often 'spend several hours on a single log' searching for and examining slime mould. I think that that's the sweetest thing I've ever heard. The woodland he explores in the film looks like a place near me. I actually want to go to it right now and look for slime mould.

Speaking of slime mould (when were we not...?), we also get the chance to look inside a 'fungarium' which is the world's biggest repository of fungal specimens. Slime mould is not exactly a fungus but here you can see a marvellous collection of slime moulds which was donated to the fungarium in 1927.

They're in wonderful condition for their age but sadly, slime moulds are an overlooked group of organisms and not that many people, outside of the myxomycetologists (slime mould scientists) themselves, actually want to come and view them.

That's a shame. A mould that's been filmed by naturalists almost since the age of cinema began (I'm talking about you, Mr. Percy Smith from Ye Olden Tymes!) and whose movements can be converted into music, emotions and artistic patterns is truly the King of Moulds.

This extraordinary award-winning documentary film comes out on Dual Format on March 13th 2017, courtesy of ARROW ACADEMY. It comes with a ton of extra features and even includes a Bonus CD containing the rearranged soundtrack to THE CREEPING GARDEN by legendary producer and musician Jim O'Rourke. Trust me, the whole package is flippin' awesome!

I never took much interest in biology in school but maybe if it had been taught to me in the easy-to-understand, approachable style of this documentary, I might just have done a little better than the 'F' I was given in my final exams. An 'F'...? Hoyvin glavin...!

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

 You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com






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