• Toronto Int'l Film Festival

  • Locarno Film Festival

Spanish Film Club
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Spanish with English subtitles

With Jovan Alexis Marquinez, Calvin Buenaventura, Gustavo Ruiz Montoya

During the day, “Ras” is a construction worker. At night after work, he tags the walls of his neighborhood east of Cali. Ras can’t sleep and is constantly daydreaming. His mother, María, a sweet woman who migrated to the city from the jungle on the Pacific side of Colombia, worries that her son has been bewitched and will end up insane.

When Ras is fired from his job for stealing several cans of paint, which he is using to create a huge mural on the lot next to his house, he searches the city for his best friend Calvin, another young graffiti artist, who studies fine arts but is having some difficulties due to his parents’ divorce and his grandmother’s recurring cancer.

Like a couple of mushrooms, Ras and Calvin will sprout and wander through the city on a journey of no return, infecting the world around them with immense freedom and hope.


“A likable drama, a mix of docu-realism with impressionistic scenes.” – Jay Weissberg, Variety

“It is a true blessing that Los Hongos avoids extreme violence or the low blow of unnecessary death. For contemporary Latin American cinema, this seems to be a genuine act of resistance to the imperatives of the global film market.” – Diego Brodersen, Diario Página 12

“As can be expected from a film about street artists, the visuals and the music of the film have an agreeably punky, rough-and-tumble kind of vibe.” – Boyd Van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter

About the Director
Oscar Ruiz Navia is a cinephile who never attended a proper film school. Part of a new generation of Colombian filmmakers, he developed his interest in film on his own. In 2006, he founded Contravía, a production company to develop art house films in his country, where there is not a huge film industry. His first feature, Crab Trap (2010), won several awards, including the FIPRESCI prize at the Berlin Film Festival.

He is also known for Siembra, and Los Hongos (2015). His films as director and producer have been domestically and internationally distributed and showcased in major festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, Locarno, San Sebastian, and Rotterdam.

Notes on Film

Los Hongos is linked to my life in Cali, the mid-sized city in southwestern Colombia where I was born, grew up, studied, and fell in love with film. I spent some time away, but following the illness and subsequent death of my grandmother, I decided to return. I tried to make a film that mixes my memories with new experiences, places I’m familiar with and those unknown to me, people who have been with me throughout my life, and those I met for the first time during this experience. Working in that limbo between what I can control and something I have no control over, with all the difficulty this implies, all of which I find deeply fascinating.

This is not a hedonistic film. On the contrary, the project arose out of pain. When most people hear the film’s title Los Hongos (synonymous with the English word “mushrooms”) think immediately of psychedelia, drugs, and pleasure. But the metaphor of the title refers to mushrooms in a literal sense: living beings that appear in a context of tremendous rotting and decomposition.”

– Oscar Ruiz Navia, Director