Friday, November 20, 2009

Film Flash Friday: A Man Named Pearl

Another aspect of film that I find extremely interesting is that actors are not required, characters are. The documentary is a good example of this. Documentaries are some of the most story centered films, because quite frankly, they have to be. A Man Named Pearl, is a documentary chronicling the effect one man has had on his rural, South Carolina community. Pearl Fryar is an African-American man who spent his days working at a canning refinery working four day, twelve hour shifts, but was able to cultivate a passion for horticulture. In particular, a love for creating magnificent, towering topiaries out of plants discarded by the local plant nursery. His passion for plants arose out of an answer to the fear of his neighbors, in his predominately white neighborhood, that he wouldn't keep up his yard. Through years of hard work, late nights, and early mornings he created a huge topiary artwork garden that spans three acres. A Man Named Pearl is ultimately a simple story about a man and his passion for plants, but gains complexity from the obstacles and perceptions that he must overcome in order to achieve success and acknowledgment for his work. Fryar sums up his belief in the film by saying, "It's human nature to look out for who ever looks like you...and there are always going to be those obstacles. The thing about it is to make you strong enough that you don't let those obstacles be what determines where you go." His personality and humor, along with the often unintentional humor provided by the resident's interviewed, makes this movie extremely entertaining. My criticism of the film would be that I would have liked more time devoted to Fryar's past and more details explaining how he got to where he is now.

Directed: Scott Galloway & Brent Pierson

For more info about the film check out: IMDB
For more info about the Pearl's work check out this BLOG

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