Archive of films Unfolding Florence: The Many Lives of Florence Broadhurst / Unfolding Florence: The Many Lives of Florence Broadhurst

2005, 82 min

Section: Documentary Films - Competition
Year: 2006

This stylised film by the renowned maker of Little Women and Charlotte Gray unravels the mysteries surrounding the life and death of Florence Broadhurst, singer, dancer, owner of a fashion salon, painter and the artist behind eccentric wallpaper designs.


When designer Florence Broadhurst was found murdered in her studio, only a few individuals could state that they really knew her. At the time of her death, this mysterious 76-year-old woman was even thought to have been twenty years younger. Thus the film begins to unravel the mysteries surrounding one of the most remarkable Australian women of the 20th century. She was born in 1899, as a singer and dancer she was part of the Shanghai scene of the 1920s, in the following decade she headed a fashion salon in London, and then returned to Sydney as a painter and became celebrated for her charity work. Conservative Australia came to know her best, however, for her eccentric and exotic wallpaper designs. This highly stylised film by renowned director Gillian Armstrong finds an original way to combine archive footage, animation, staged sequences and testimonies of those who remember Florence Broadhurst.

About the director

Gillian Armstrong (b. 1950, Melbourne, Australia), one of the most famous female directors in her native country, studied at the Swinburn Art School and she was one of the first graduates of the Australian Film, Television & Radio School – AFTRS. She has made short films, video clips, documentary and feature films in Australia and the USA. Her remarkable filmography includes the films Charlotte Gray (2001) and Oscar and Lucinda (1997), on which she collaborated with Cate Blanchett. The extremely successful Little Women (1994) was nominated three times for an Oscar, whilst The Last Days of Chez Nous (1992) competed at the Berlin IFF. Her documentary work is equally impressive – four films in which she traces the lives of three South Australian women, from their adolescent years right up to motherhood.


Film Australia
101 Eton Road, NSW 2070, Lindfield
Tel: +61 2 941 387 77
Fax: +61 2 941 656 72
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

European premiere

Section: Documentary Films - Competition
Director: Gillian Armstrong
Screenplay: Katherine Thomson
Dir. of Photography: John Radel
Music: Paul Grabowsky
Editor: Nicholas Beauman ASE
Producer: Charles Hannah, Sue Clothier, Nicola Lawrence, Mark Hamlyn
Production: Film Australia
Cast: Judi Farr, Felicity Price, Hanna Garbo
Contact: Film Australia

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