Review: ‘Man of Flowers’

Paul Cox's film, flickering between realism and fantasy, follows the progress of Bremer, a rich naive eccentric (Norman Kaye), whose inherited wealth both protects him from the coldness of the outside world and isolates him from its warmth. He is cocooned in a childlike innocence, dwelling on the sexual exploration of his boyhood.

Paul Cox’s film, flickering between realism and fantasy, follows the progress of Bremer, a rich naive eccentric (Norman Kaye), whose inherited wealth both protects him from the coldness of the outside world and isolates him from its warmth. He is cocooned in a childlike innocence, dwelling on the sexual exploration of his boyhood.

Man of Flowers opens with an astonishingly erotic strip by Lisa, the model. She strips, nothing more, nothing less. Is her stated affection for him genuine, or is she attracted by his money? Cox keeps the bond teasingly ambiguous.

At times Man of Flowers creates Hitchcock-like tension, but when the suspense becomes uncomfortable Cox lets his audience off the hook with a little wry humor. The expected black climax is never quite allowed to occur.

Kaye delivers a wonderful, understated performance as Bremer and Alyson Best is a delightfully enigmatic Lisa.

Man of Flowers

Australia

Production

Flowers. Director Paul Cox; Producer Jane Ballantyne, Paul Cox; Screenplay Paul Cox, Bob Ellis; Camera Yuri Sokol; Editor Tim Lewis; Art Director Asher Bilu

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1983. Running time: 93 MIN.

With

Norman Kaye Alyson Best Chris Haywood Sarah Walker Julia Blake Bob Ellis
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