‘Taming the Garden’ Review: A Bewitching Doc Turns a Billionaire’s Whim Into a Mythic Tale of Human and Nature

Peter Carey’s 1988 novel “Oscar and Lucinda” contains a section in which a glass church is floated down a river.

It’s such a striking image that one imagines it must have been the spur for the whole intricate story, just as the sight of a large tree borne on a barge, cutting a crisp swath through calm blue coastal waters and trailing an arc of questions in its wake, might trigger a documentary as quietly magnificent and strange as Salomé Jashi’s “Taming the Garden.”Across an immaculately slow and beautiful 92 minutes, Jashi’s film sometimes recalls experimental essays like Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor’s “Leviathan,” with similarly outstanding cinematography from Jashi and co-dp Goga Devdariani.

Occasionally, with a shot across treetops in which one patch of greenery moves with bizarre animal grace while all else is stationary, it looks like one of Tolkien’s Ents has decided to take a stroll.

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