🌟4.5/5 Stars 🌟
Fantastic Fungi soothes our Quarantine Blues & gives us Hope
Quarantine Week #???, and we’re all running out of things to binge on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or whatever other streaming channel we can think of. Worry not, we have just the film to soothe your cabin fever, & bring you hope, joy, and compassion for our planet.
During our quarantine, we watched Louis Schwartzberg’s cosmic documentary, Fantastic Fungi. This conscious shifting film speaks on the ultimate importance of the fungi kingdom, and how they are an untapped, superhero solution to many of our global (and individual) problems.
We also discovered a unique spotlight on Paul Stamets, a charismatic mycologist for fungi in North America. His stories seamlessly bridged the latter half of the film, giving us an empowering portrait magic mushrooms. It goes in depth with how magic mushrooms are incorrectly seen as a recreational drug, and that it has a lot more to offer than what many folk think.
Fantastic Fungi presents us our planet’s hopes for the future
The film doesn’t explicitly state that we all must trip on mushrooms, btw. Through the words of Paul Stamets, and others like Michael Pollan, Andrew Weil, & patient case studies, we’re presented personal and clinical anecdotes. Which, lets us make up our own minds about what we think of mushrooms.
But our minds are made up – The fungi kingdom (which includes magic mushrooms) is one of our only hopes for our planet’s maladies. From climate change, to pandemics, and record rates of mood disorders, we think there’s something that fungi can do to help alleviate these problems.
So, we’re here to give you our reasons why Fantastic Fungi should be next in your movie binging spree. And then, you can also make up your own mind about it.
Fantastic Fungi = Fantastic Visuals
Fantastic Fungi is not your ordinary talking head documentary. Instead it was an abundance of excellent ‘visualgasms’ like, mushrooms blooming, skies setting & rising, and microscopic shots of little insects roaming in nature. All under high quality time lapses.
Schwartzberg perfected the time-lapse over his 30 year filmmaking career. He installed his camera to keep rolling for days in his studio. FYI: the nature scenes are shot indoors, mise en scene style.
Also, we can’t ignore the film’s exceptional 3D renderings of microscopic nature. Like: Mycelium growing underneath tree chunks. Or that cute, quirky visual interpretation of Terence and Dennis McKenna’s Stoned Ape Theory.
Bonus Tip: Take some magic truffles, and enjoy those visuals of Fantastic Fungi. We recommend watching it twice – one for tripping and one for digesting the film.
Paul Stamets’ First Psychedelic Trip
Stamets was quirky, animated, and most importantly, passionate in his stories. What we took from the film was his first time ingesting magic mushrooms. It gave us an amazing visual interpretation of Stamets’ anecdote with all those cool geometric kaleidoscopes, bright lights, and rolling, animated clouds. Plus we got to hear from him how his first trip benefitted him long term.
Kind of made us think about our first time tripping :,) *nostalgia*.
Discovering New Fungi
We’re obviously passionate about what magic mushrooms and magic truffles can do for us. But of course, there’s still a lot of learning to do with how other non psychoactive mushrooms can help. As the film suggests, human society does not completely understand what the fungi genome can do for us.
We discovered some pretty awesome mushrooms like Reishi Mushrooms, Turkey Tail Mushrooms, & Lion’s Mane Mushrooms. Although not a particular mushroom, our honorable mention goes to entomopathogenic fungi, which we learned can function as a natural pesticide.
Inspiring peek into a Psilocybin Clinical Trial
One of Fantastic Fungi’s closing statements centered around different individuals lives that have been positively impacted from psilocybin mushrooms. In particular, we witnessed an intimate portrayal of a psilocybin clinical trial with terminally ill cancer patients.
The patients underwent this trial to alleviate the death anxieties surrounding their illness with psilocybin.
One woman recounts her psilocybin experience:
“And I felt so beautiful…I felt like I never felt before. My sense of being loved. Being worthy….of love, of being cared for. Of being important to someone….”Fantastic Fungi
Of course, the film excelled in presenting factual information with the visuals. But it took into consideration the mysticism and emotional weight that mushrooms carry. After all, mushrooms been worshipped as deities for centuries, are one of the oldest animal kingdoms to date, and include mushrooms like psilocybin mushrooms which as we know yield so many positive benefits.
More importantly, the film paints the picture that psilocybin is not a party drug, but rather a substance for spiritual and medicinal purposes.
Warning: this part of the film was a *tearjerker* :,)
I’ve read enough, where can I watch Fantastic Fungi?
Of course due to global social distancing measures, Fantastic Fungi is digitally available for purchase and/or rent via their website. There are a wide range of subtitles that you can choose.
We highly recommend watching with your native language subtitles because there are many concepts discussed worth digesting (and go a little fast in the film, tbh).
So what are you waiting for?
All images in the blog are by: Fantastic Fungi