Category Archives: documentaries
In a previous blog post I mentioned that I love the hands of sculptor Louise Bourgeois. They are weathered and dimpled like a prune, full of spots and marks of victory and failure. It’s why I love them. It means that she tried, and she lived — she used all that she had; herself and life itself. (Louise was prolific and dedicated to her work until her death at 98 years old.) Louise is no longer with us in physical form, but her legacy and lessons live on.
I remember having a conversation with my mom, about whether or not Mom should return to school and become an interior designer. At the time she thought it was a crazy idea. Mom exclaimed, “I’m too old. By the time I finish I’ll be 44!” In my mind, it was a fabulous fresh new start for her. It was a wonderful idea. In her mind, she felt she needed to be more established. Being in your 40s is the time to show what you’ve accomplished, not what you’ve just started. But today she thinks differently. It’s over 20 years later, and she can see the youth and potential in any age.
Last week my mom and I went to see the new documentary called IRIS. It’s about the celebrated New York fashion-world starlet named Iris Apfel (formerly known as an A-List interior designer). I’m sure you’ve seen her before. She’s been in all sorts of print ads and commercials over the years. Her trademark glasses make her memorable and unforgettable.
The movie was great. My mom & I really enjoyed it. After the movie we went to a cafe to chat about it. We talked about how inspired we were by how courageous Iris is. At 93 years old, Iris is being being Iris, and she’s boldly sharing her life of creativity & style with the world. Iris doesn’t do anything because it’s trendy or ‘with the times.’ She does what she loves and what she feels inspired to do (regardless of what people think.) The result of that is pure artistic genius that others admire.
One thing that stands out about Iris Apfel, that resonates with me personally — is she knows what truly matters. At the end of her film, she said that health is all we really have that’s truly worth something. She also calls ‘peace of mind’ the greatest luxury that someone can attain. (That comment was made at the New York Times’ International Luxury Conference, to a room full of people that live for famous name brands and evolve their lives around them.)
In the film IRIS, the famed fashion photographer Bruce Weber asks Iris Apfel why he never hears her harshly criticizing the way other people dress. With her elbow bent and hand tossed in the air, Iris replies, “It’s better to be happy than well dressed.”
It’s clear that Iris is not a superficial person living to personify anything. She is simply being herself. It’s also evident that she is absolutely clear on what truly matters: Loving Relationships, Peace of Mind, Joy & Happiness, Contribution & Connection, Living Boldly & Honestly — they are all at the top of her list. Iris Apfel definitely has her priorities straight.
“Some people work so hard, at trying to be happy — and trying to do everything they think they’re supposed to do — that they’re very unhappy. It’s just kind of silly. Pressure is a terrible thing. Societal pressure is an awful thing.” – Iris Apfel
I know, I know… I often recommend documentaries on Sunday Is For Lovers. But if I could have an ongoing list, I’d place the documentary May I Be Frank near the top. Not because it’s high-quality, mind-blowing or super-unique, but because it has the most heart. I rarely get choked-up while watching films, and this film had me on the verge of tears. It’s about a guy named Frank Ferrante that goes through a transformation. I’m not going to say anymore than that. I’m just going to say that…. (did I just say I wasn’t going to say anymore?) ….he completely changes his life on every level; physically, spiritually and emotionally. I think the footage from the film is from 2005, and if you see him today, he looks amazing and his energy is so inviting and wonderful. He is still on the path of transformation, and he is still inspiring others along the way. It’s people like Frank that make me feel madly in-love with life. It’s people like Frank that generously show others what is possible. I’m so grateful for him, and for all the others that helped in recording and sharing his journey.
Another film that you could watch, that would follow May I Be Frank beautifully is, Hungry For Change. The poster/artwork for the film is a terrible choice, but the film itself is excellent. It’s not as ‘entertaining’ as May I Be Frank, but it is informative, and Frank Ferrante is in it, along with a few other faces you might recognize.
I love watching documentaries. I’ve made quite a few posts on Sunday Is For Lovers sharing my favorite documentaries. More than not, the list is full of documentaries about artists. This week I found another great one. It’s about Tomi Ungerer. If you are unfamiliar with his name, once you view the film and see his body of work, you’ll recall seeing his artwork throughout your life. His body of work is enormous. Be it children’s books, political posters, artistic pornography, commercial works — he’s done it all. And all of it is outstanding.
The title of the film about his life is Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story. I saw it on Netflix. But I’m sure it’s available through numerous outlets. Below I’ll post a quote I enjoyed from the film. I identified with it in so many ways. It brought me back to how I felt as a youth, and how I feel currently as an adult.
“…When you’re faced with this kind of historical contradiction — what is liberation? What is fascism? What is dictatorial? And this is what I found out as a child very, very early. Everything was just absurd. The war is absurd. People are absurd. The grown ups are absurd.”