Thursday, November 8, 2012


I just saw a funny little satire from Estonia that rushed out of the blue woods and blindsided me with its fresh, awkwardly dark, and humorous approach. Toomas Hussar's debut film, Mushrooming, is this year's oscar contender from the country that I can't tell you a damn thing about (wait....wikipedia says lots of things: ESTONIA).  Anyway, maybe you don't watch a lot of foreign films, maybe you do - this is my second year where my dance card is flushed with foreign films and I adore (sometimes begrudgingly) the variety of subject matter and choices. 

Mushrooming had a slow start.  It is literally about a couple (one parliament member in the media spotlight and his wife) who go on an excursion to pick baskets and baskets of chantrelles and boletuses. A relaxing task to enjoy the woods and get away from city life and lifestyle. Along the way they pick up a hitch-hiking rock star (a seemingly one-hit-wonder type who's success makes him recognizable but completely self-loathing) and they high-tail it PAST the normal mushroom-picking grounds to much deeper, darker, stranger terrain. The events that unfold, pop up, and incept you (yes, they appear to take YOU in rather than the other way around) are totally odd, surprisingly funny, and always closely shadowed by danger.

As an audience member, I felt a bit like I was in those same woods - I didn't know where I was outside of my immediate surroundings, anything could come from any direction, and suddenly while standing and contemplating, I see a pink stuffed animal in the bushes. Head cocked and eyes focused, I have no choice but to let my curiosity lead me over to the thing - and just as I get close, the stuffed animal begins to drag away by some unseen fishing line, deeper into the woods.  Most every moment of Mushrooming (after 20 minutes in) is unexpected, kind of intriguing, and both loaded and light.  Toomas Hussar does an excellent job of toying with his audience while also making interesting political and social points that stem from his home country and relate to us as well.

Someone leaned over to me afterward and noted the film seemed also "Tarantino-esque".  I would agree with that. A very, very fresh approach from an up and coming filmmaker. Here's a review and a trailer.

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