Now, Forager (USA/Poland; 93 min.)

directed by:
Jason Cortlund; Julia Halperin
starring: Jason Cortland; Tiffany Esteb; Almex Lee; Gabrielle Maisels
Now, Forager

Bruce says: "Written and co-directed by Jason Cortland, NOW, FORAGER also stars the handsome, somewhat off-beat actor.  Cortland plays Lucien Echeverria, a thirty-something who, with his wife Regina (Tiffany Esteb), makes a meager living by foraging the forests north of New York City for mushrooms and selling them to upscale New York restaurants.  As the film begins we see them in the woods, searching for the mushooms which are scarce due to a drought-filled growing season.  The Escheverrias are down on their luck and are in risk of losing their apartment.  They have no margin for error, no savings, no health insurance.

"Regina is clearly growing tired of a hand-to-mouth existence.  Lucien, however, is oblivious to her incipient restlessness.  When Regina is offered a sous-chef job in a fancy restaurant he hasn’t a clue why she would want it.  'You’re doing your thing; I’m doing mine,' she tells him.  Winter comes and Lucien plans on going to some southern states to forage.  A friend in Washington gets Lucien a catering gig.  The DC matron is impossible to work for.  She changes her mind constantly then blames Lucien for things not going according to schedule.  'You should have planned your time better.  I thought you were a professional,'  she says as she makes a last minute change to the menu.

"The owner of the restaurant where Regina works finds a job for her near Providence, RI.  She takes the job without seeing it first, most likely because she only has enough money for a one-way fare.  When she arrives she finds a roadside family restaurant that has seen better days.  The Basque owners want all the traditional recipes Americanized.  Regina’s plans to create wonderfully authentic dishes are sabotaged.   1000 Island dressing is the staple in this Basque establishment.

"NOW, FORAGER begins as a film about the struggles of making ends meet but evolves into a sorrowful, futile tale about a marriage falling apart.  Lucien and Regina are helpless to make things better.  Each has a fantasy that is unrealistic; neither seems to have the inner resources to adjust his/her thinking and adapt to the harsh realities of marriage.  Sadly, one suspects that their lives apart from one another may not be any better than what they had together.  

"The most interesting aspect of NOW, FORAGER is how it presents food to the audience.  It instructs subtly.  The Escheverrias are at the bottom of the foodie hierarchy and it is unlikely either will ever come close to celebrity.  They clearly treasure food of all kinds and love preparing it.  That passion is something to admire.   3 cats 

"(NOW, FORAGER screened at the 2012 New Directors/New Films Festival jointly sponsored by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art.)"

Julie says:  "I had the pleasure of seeing NOW FORAGER at a recent Boston Mycological Club event. I found it quite good on several levels including film, cinematography, music, foodie and mycological. You can read all about it in Bruce's review and this trailer does not spoil anything but might entice you to see it.

"3.7 cats - maybe buried treasure level ? as I think it might be very hard to get your hands on and I think it's worth seeing."