Academy Award-winning actress Brie Larson may have just given us her most dramatic role to date, delivering compelling first-person narration as the voice of an army of mushrooms in the new documentary, Fantastic Fungi. The feature-length film digs deep into the world of the captivating yet mysterious organisms that feed on organic matter and break down plant life. From molds and yeast to mushrooms and toadstools, fungi have been around for 3.5 billion years, and this eponymous film uncovers why the incredible life form remains so important to us as humans today.
Courtesy Moving ArtSpoiler Alert. The film includes interviews with a number of scientists, professors, doctors, journalists, and others, including famous physician Dr. Andrew Weil. The film’s central figure is Paul Stamets, a mycologist who is a writer, speaker, researcher and entrepreneur working in the world of fungi. As a youth, Stamets had a horrible stutter and had trouble looking people in the eye. Influenced in part by Dr. Andrew Weil’s book, Altered States of Consciousness, Stamets decided to take ten times the normal dose of psychedelic mushrooms, finding himself on top of a tree in the midst of a thunderstorm. After some very powerful hallucinatory experiences, he came down from the tree, whereupon he lost his stutter and was suddenly able to start looking people in the eye.
Courtesy Moving Art“Mushrooms represent rebirth, rejuvenation, regeneration. Fungi generates soil that gives life,” Stamets says in the film. “If we don’t get our act together, and come in commonality and understanding with the organisms that sustain us today, not only will we destroy those organisms, but we will destroy ourselves.”
Courtesy Moving ArtIn Fantastic Fungi, we learn that mushrooms are the fruit of mycelium, an underground network that curiously shares a similar structure with the internet. The …
Author: Tanja M. Laden / High Times