There is a reason that so many painters have turned to the bowl of fruit for inspiration, and if filmmakers have been slow to follow suit, Yung Chang (Up the Yangtze; China Heavyweight) is quick to make amends. Inspired by Adam Leith Gollner’s book of the same name, and accompanied by a motley group of fruit fanatics including the Hollywood actor Bill Pullman, Chang explores a wider, weirder world of fruit: stinky durians, cherimoyas, icecream beans.
Adventurers Noris Ledesma and Richard Campbell scour the jungle for rare mangos, hoping to intervene before the plants are steamrolled by industrialization. Pioneering scientist Juan Aguilar races to breed bananas resistant to a deadly fungus that threatens the worldwide crop. And fruit detectives including Isabella Dalla Ragione investigate Renaissance-era paintings for clues, hoping to rediscover lost varietals. Pullman’s efforts to seed a community orchard in the Hollywood hills are interspersed with juicy historical titbits tracing cultivation across centuries and continents.