offoffoff film
 RELATED PROJECTS

      







 ADVERTISEMENT













Site links
  • OFFOFFOFF Home
  • About OFFOFFOFF
  • Contact us

    Get our newsletter:
     
    Search the site:
     

    Film section
  • Film main page
  • Film archive
  • Audio index
  • Film links


    Top 10 lists


  • Top 10 films of 2004
    (Andrea, David, Joshua, Leslie)
  • Top 10 films of 2003
    (Andrea, David, Joshua, Leslie)
  • Top 10 films of 2002
  • Top 10 films of 2001
  • Top 10 films of 2000
  • Top 10 films of 1999
  •  All of our top 10 lists, 1999 - 2004

    Current movies


  • Afterschool
  • Antichrist
  • Babies
  • Broken Embraces
  • Dare
  • District 9
  • The End of Poverty?
  • Fix
  • Food Beware
  • The Men Who Stare at Goats
  • Pirate Radio
  • Precious
  • Red Cliff
  • The September Issue

    Festivals


  • Brooklyn International Film Festival
  • Human Rights Watch Film Festival
  • New York Film Festival

    Archive


    Complete archive

    Recent reviews:
  • (500) Days of Summer
  • Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer
  • The Art of the Steal
  • The Beetle
  • Blessed is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh
  • Boy A
  • Brideshead Revisited
  • The Brothers Bloom
  • Burn After Reading
  • Cold Souls
  • The Duchess
  • Elegy
  • Enlighten Up! A Skeptic's Journey Into the World of Yoga
  • Five Minutes of Heaven
  • Flame and Citron
  • Frozen River
  • Happy-Go-Lucky
  • How to Lose Friends & Alienate People
  • The Human Condition
  • Hunger
  • Inglourious Basterds
  • King of Shadows
  • The Lemon Tree
  • Lorna's Silence
  • A Man Named Pearl
  • Man on Wire
  • Memorial Day
  • Mister Foe
  • Morning Light
  • My F├╝hrer
  • My One and Only
  • Paris
  • The Pervert's Guide to Cinema
  • Peter and Vandy
  • Police, Adjective
  • Pray the Devil Back to Hell
  • Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind
  • Rachel Getting Married
  • A Secret
  • Sleep Dealer
  • St. Trinian's
  • Thirst
  • Throw Down Your Heart
  • Valentino: The Last Emperor
  • What's the Matter with Kansas?
  • Wild Grass
  • Jay DiPietro

  •  REVIEW: A MAN NAMED PEARL

      A Man Named Pearl
    Prune pits

    Black and white and green all over.

    By LESLIE (HOBAN) BLAKE
    Offoffoff.com


    It's no wonder that "A Man Named Pearl," the 78 minute documentary about amateur plant sculptor Pearl Fryar, won a Crystal Heart Award, since it's desire to warm our hearts is all too transparent. He's actually etched the phrase "Love, Peace & Goodwill" onto his grounds in flower filled letters. Talk about a feel good flick!

    Fryar's story, while unique and certainly worth telling, has already been told dozens of times over in magazines and newspapers, including the "New York Times" and was even a segment on CBS Sunday Morning. Seems the self-taught topiary artist responded to a racial slur uttered in 1976 by deciding to win his town's 'Yard of the Month' award, something no African-American had ever done.

    A MAN NAMED PEARL
    Directed by: Scott Galloway, Brent Pierson.
    Produced by: Scott Galloway.
    Cast: Pearl Fryar.
    Cinematography: J. Steven Anderson.
    Edited by: Greg Grzeszczak.
    Music by: Fred Story.

    Related links: Official site
      
    So, armed with a hedge cutter the size of a small chainsaw, he began to plant and trim trees and bushes on his three acres of land, until they resembled the Tim Burton sets for "Edward Scissorhands." And he won that yard award along with the approbation of the white townsfolk who had originally cast aspersions on black people's yards. Moreover, his designs became an economic boon to his town of Bishopville, South Carolina by creating a media and tourist attraction. (Check out his website at www.fryarstopiaries.com and You Tube videos.)

      A Man Named Pearl
    The film manages to deal with such major themes as race relations, artistic fulfillment, and economic revival and yet it still seems over long at only slightly more than an hour. Before television, filmmaker John Nesbitt made over 50 shorts under the umbrella catch phrase "The Passing Parade" — many, if not all, of which can be seen on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) as filler. They dealt with various historical, scientific, and/or human interest themes

    "A Man Named Pearl" is reminiscent of Nesbitt's "Annie Was a Wonder" (1949), the story of Annie Swenson, one of myriad Scandinavian immigrant girls who came to America in the early 20th century hoping for a better life. Swenson worked as a cook/housekeeper for the Nesbitts and he immortalized her virtues in a scant 11 minutes.


      
    Fryar's story, while unique and certainly worth telling, has already been told dozens of times over in magazines and newspapers.  

      
    Perhaps co-directors Scott Galloway and Brent Pierson should have reviewed "Fast, Cheap & Out of Control," Errol Morris's wacky 80 minute doc, 20 minutes of which were dedicated to the work of topiary gardner George Mendo, before deciding to tell Fryar's story yet again. Where the Morris film is humorous and edgy, their's seems rambling and unfocused.

    Even the title is off the mark, as little is made of his odd name and several viewers at the screening I attended thought the film was going to be about the late journalist Daniel Pearl. However, the still youthful 68 year old Fryar is a remarkable man and his story might make a very good narrative film. Someone ought to send Morgan Freeman the DVD and a weed whacker!

    JULY 30, 2008
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on A Man Named Pearl:

  • Pearl   from JW, Aug 15, 2012

  • Post a comment on "A Man Named Pearl"