Saturday, November 1, 2008

Cool-Sounding Documentary at the Avon

The name of the movie is boring (A Man Named Pearl) but the synopsis is not. After being told he was not welcome in a white South Carolina neighborhood because "black people don't keep up their yards," Pearl created an elaborate topiary garden and became the first black man to win his town's Lawn of the Month award. A Man Named Pearl started at the Avon Theatre yesterday and goes through Thursday. I'm going to catch a showing this weekend at 12:15, 2:15, or 6:15. See a trailer of the film, or keep reading for a summary.

From the Avon's website: Winner of the Heartland Film Festival Crystal Heart Award and Salem Film Festival Audience Award, 'A Man Named Pearl' tells the inspiring story of self-taught topiary artist Pearl Fryar, whose unlikely journey to national prominence began with a bigoted remark. In 1976, Pearl took a job in a can factory in Bishopville, South Carolina. New to this rural southern town, he and his wife Metra looked at a house for sale in an all-white neighborhood. The Fryars' real estate agent was notified by neighbors in the prospective neighborhood that a black family was not welcome. A homeowner voiced the collective concern: "Black people don't keep up their yards." Pearl was stung by the racial stereotype. But rather than become angry and embittered, it motivated him to prove that misguided man wrong. Pearl bought a house in a "black" neighborhood and began fashioning a garden that would attract positive attention. His goal was modest, but clear: to become the first African-American to win Bishopville's Yard of the Month award.

Pearl's garden has grown into a masterpiece. In order to keep the project alive and well for future generations, the garden has been designated as a Preservation Project of the Garden Conservancy. To view more photos of Pearl's topiaries, visit Fryar's Topiaries.

1 comment:

OIgirl said...

I love the Avon - have you seen Rachel Getting Married which I see is still playing? It was filmed in Stamford and there are definite recognizable spots. I took one of my oldest friends from Pennsylvania there last weekend, she had never been here and loved that I walked everywhere.