Directed by: Jason Cortlund, Julia Halperin | 93 minutes | drama | Actors: Jason Cortlund, Tiffany Esteb, Almex Lee, Gabrielle Maisels, Cristina Isabel Mendes Cabral, Michael Cavalinho, Tom Cherwin, Marty Clarke, Marcia Costa, Brandon deSpain, Damon DiMarco, Marie DiTullo, Diana Greenhut, Jenny Harkins, Jason Howard, Kaelen Howard, Mino Jones, Robert Kirshbaum, Tony Jonathan Le, Alex Mayzlin, Nicholas Mikovich, Sabrina Morand, Nick Raio, T. Guava Sands, Eric Dean Scott, Kim Weiler
Freedom is an important concept for the two lovers Lucien and Regina. Together they earn just enough money to survive by picking mushrooms, but the uncertain future that this entails at the same time creates uncertainty in the relationship between the two. While Lucien cannot let go of his idealistic principles, Regina is looking for more security and decides to take her chance when she is offered a job in a restaurant. The first romantic couple is growing further and further apart.
Apart from a film about love, “Love & Fungi” is also a film where the passion for nature and food is visualized in a pure way. The images seem to come straight from a nature documentary. As a viewer you will be served mushrooms in different types, colors and sizes, even before they have been in the pan. Time is taken for each shot and the two directors Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin show what is omitted or shown in a hurry in most films: gathering and preparing fresh ingredients.
The other types of view on food are also made visible. Regina can, for example, work as a cook in a Basque restaurant through a recommendation from her previous employer. She hopes to preserve the heritage of her ancestors here, but things are not going as planned: it turns out to be nothing more than a glorified fast-food restaurant.
At the same time, things were not going smoothly for Lucien either. When picking mushrooms no longer yields anything, he decides to do the catering for a party in a wealthy house. Even when deciding on the snacks, it appears that the hostess only wants to impress her guests, without really understanding what good food is.
The relationship between Lucien and Regina is especially interesting in “Love & Fungi”. The moment of the break is almost invisible. There is no quarrel or grief at any time. The two adults are slowly growing apart and can both accept and put this into perspective without too much trouble.
The film requires patience and according to many it could probably use a little bit of acceleration, but at the same time this slowness is the charm of the film. “Love & Fungi” is a story with not too much fuss, where purity is paramount. But if you feel like fast food, it is better to skip it in this case.