Synopsis by Mark Deming
Florence Broadhurst was best known as a leading Australian interior designer who turned a small business into one of the nation's largest wallpaper companies. However, Broadhurst's past was something of a mystery to many people, and not without reason -- she was a woman with a gift for assuming and shedding identities at will, and Australian filmmaker Gillian Armstrong looks at her remarkable life and times in this documentary. In 1899, Broadhurst was born in a farming community in Queensland, and from an early age she had a powerful desire to see the world. By the time she was in her mid-twenties, Broadhurst had made her way to Shanghai and was gaining fame on the cabaret circuit. Later on, Broadhurst moved to England and fabricated an impressive history as a blue-blooded socialite for herself, and by the time she returned to Australia she had convinced those around her she was a moneyed and talented designer and enjoyed a very successful career until her shocking murder in 1977. Unfolding Florence: The Many Lives of Florence Broadhurst tells the story of her life through newsreel footage, vintage photographs, animation, dramatic reenactments, and interviews with her family and friends. Unfolding Florence received its North American premiere at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.