Last Wednesday night my friend Rachel called me to square up some plans we were making to get together for dinner and a movie. The conversation started with a common question you might ask when you call up a friend in the evening, "What are you doing?"
Generally when you tell someone you're watching a movie they might want to know what it is and what it's about. So of course when I told her I was watching a movie she asked, "Oh, what is it?" Probably she was expecting that I'd say "Terminator" or "Sleepless in Seattle" or some other movie title that any normal person might recognize and immediately relate to.
For me though, answering this question is always trickier than you might imagine because I prefer non-mainstream kinds of stuff. For example, at the time I was watching a documentary about an Australian wall paper designer.
It's nearly impossible to make that sound interesting so in order not to come across like a total dork I felt the need to qualify the film and over explain the plot and characters and rationalize why I might be watching such a film. Rachel insisted that it sounded cool, but I blathered on and on about it just the same.
Anyhoo... I thought I'd blather about it here too.
Yes. I watched a brilliant documentary by Australian director Gillian Armstrong called Unfolding Florence, about the larger than life Florence Broadhurst who was murdered at the age of 78 and best known for her silk screened wallpapers and fabrics she began to design at age 60.
Armstrong let's Broadhurst tell her own story, interspersed with old photos, Monty Python-like animation, and interviews of family, friends and former employees sitting in front of backdrops of her amazing designs. It's a documentary for people who don't like documentaries. I happen to like documentaries so I loved it.
It's a terrific film and if anyone out there is interested in Jazz Age Paris, London during the Blitz and flamboyant old ladies who put on airs and have a great eye for design, then you should watch it.
Her fabrics and wallpapers are still available here and prints can be purchased as art.
Here is very short interview with the director that includes a taste of what the film is like: