The Creeping Garden review – fascinating foray into the world of slime mould

This eccentric, diverting film about the world of mould and its enthusiasts is as weird as they come, but it could teach us a thing or two … well, maybe

Here is a documentary that in filmic and scientific terms is the equivalent of a lengthy mandolin solo on a triple gatefold prog-rock album. It’s all about the weird world of slime mould. We hear from amateur slime mould enthusiasts who love to study time-lapse footage of the frilly, bulbous mouldy growths spreading and branching all over fallen trees, like the fractal images in those films that used to be shown on The Old Grey Whistle Test. Slime mould is part plant, part mysterious, shapeless animal.

There is an intriguing link with early cinema. In the days of magic lanterns, things like this were a favourite spectacle: the pioneering film-maker and naturalist F Percy Smith produced what he called “time magnification” films of fungi. This film interviews people from organisations such as the International Center of Unconventional Computing with some freaky and funky slime mould-related notions. Could the spontaneous formation of mould teach us something about urban planning? Road networks? Er, it’s not proven. Some researchers gauge the electric charge of slime mould growth and link it up to a weirdo “robot emotion head”. Strange, eccentric, diverting.

Contributor

Peter Bradshaw

The GuardianTramp

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