What’s your favorite doc of all time? Mine never seems to show up on any of the Greatest Documentaries lists, sad to say (though you can see a poster for it in one of the bathrooms at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck). It’s Cane Toads: An Unnatural History (1988, Mark Lewis), a hilarious examination of an invasive species that has been wreaking havoc in Australia since the 1930s but acquiring a quirky fanbase along the way. And now, I’m delighted to report that Cane Toads may have found a worthy new successor: Rodents of Unusual Size, which has, as far as I can tell, nothing at all to do with tacky monster costumes in The Princess Bride.
According to one of the filmmakers, Chris Metzler, Rodents of Unusual Size is “an offbeat environmental documentary about giant swamp rats invading coastal Louisiana and the story of a defiant people on the edge of the world, who are defending their communities, culture and livelihoods from the onslaught of this curious and unexpected invasive species.” Chris, you had me at “offbeat.”
Properly called nutria, the members of this furry caravan from South America grow up to 20 pounds apiece, reproduce faster than they can be hunted and are gnawing away at a furious pace with their big orange incisors at vegetation that helps protect the Louisiana shoreline from the impact of hurricanes. The film spotlights a Delacroix Island native named Thomas Gonzales who is on a mission to stop the nutria’s depredations.
Rodents of Unusual Size will screen at two venues in our region this week. There will be discussions with director Jeff Springer following the showings at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck on Friday, November 16 at 8:15 p.m. and at Time and Space Limited (TSL) in Hudson on Saturday, November 17 at 7:45 p.m. TSL will offer additional screenings at 3:45 p.m. on November 18, 4 p.m. on November 24, 5:45 p.m. on November 25 and 6:15 p.m. on December 2. To view the trailer for the film, visit https://vimeo.com/237653627.
Rodents of Unusual Size
Friday, Nov. 16
6415 Montgomery St. (Route 9)
(845) 876 2515
Saturday, Nov. 17
Time & Space Limited
434 Columbia St.