|Acclaimed director Gillian Armstrong reveals the many lives of flamboyant Australian design pioneer Florence Broadhurst in the feature-length documentary Unfolding Florence which had it's world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival last year.
Featuring interviews with Maggie Tabberer, fashion designer Akira Isogawa and Florence Broadhurst's son Robert Lloyd-Lewis, Unfolding Florence also includes dramatised sequences. Actors Judi Farr and Felicity Price play Florence at different stages of her adult life, while child actor Hannah Garbo plays Florence as a girl.
Born in outback Queensland in 1899, Florence Broadhurst was a singer and dancer in Shanghai in the 1920s and ran her own fashion boutique in London in the 1930s before sweeping into Sydney society as a painter and charity queen.
Invention and reinvention were the keys to Florence Broadhurst and she later became a designer of bold and exotic wallpapers. But 30 years ago, Florence Broadhurst was found brutally murdered in her Sydney studio - and her murder has never been solved.
I didn't think it was a robbery for two reasons. The first was that the person had a fairly intimate knowledge of the workings of the factory: how to get out the back door and where the key was to the back door. The second reason was that my mother was in the process of making two cups of tea when the attack took place ... It was someone she knew well and someone she felt comfortable with. - Robert Lloyd-Lewis, Florence Broadhurst's son
When she died, few guessed her age, let alone her origins. Her wallpaper designs now capture the world's imagination - from Melbourne to Milan.
Unfolding Florence is told in a vibrant and unconventional style, with more than a touch of humour and irreverence, making it a lot like Florence herself.
Says director Gillian Armstrong: "I want people to get an understanding of the rich, complicated life that the extraordinary Florence Broadhurst led, and to admire her talents and achievements. But this is no puff piece. She was a fighter, a perfectionist and didn't suffer fools, and the documentary also shows her tough side and her struggles. Florence had guts, she really did." (From Australia, in English) (Documentary)