Now, Forager: A Film About Love and Fungi
Directed by Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin
Opens October 3, IFC Center
Sulky indie drama might not have been the best path through a story of mushroomers in a troubled marriage; that cheeky and possibly misleading title evokes Walt Whitman, but he’d probably write the actual movie off as a barbaric yawn. Over the course of one glum and gradual year, Basque-American foragers Lucien (writer/co-director Cortlund) and Regina (Tiffany Esteb) come to find his borderline-antisocial nomadism at odds with her wearied hope for stability. But going separate ways only means seeing their culinary aptitudes unappreciated by snotty dilettantes and provincial purveyors of mayonnaise-intensive “meat babies.” Moping ensues, with Cortlund’s on-camera confidence mostly in service of stony mulishness. At least mycology is of interest to him, albeit more so than dramatic shape: In voiceover, Lucien narrates a litany of binomial nomenclatures, concise cooking instructions, and, where applicable, symptoms of toxicity. Yeah, we know this guy, at least well enough to want to direct more pity toward those around him, like the colleague who advises, on the matter of one scorned catering gig, “You just gotta put your head down and get through it.” Unfortunately, that advice also goes for abiding the movie—a slow-food procedural, commendably devoted yet still underdone.