Nose: The Most Secret Job in the World
A smell-good film by DIOR that explores its signature flower, the Rose-des-Vents, and rare scented flowers around the world, with Dior’s head perfumer, or “Nose,” Francois Demachy. In what is a notoriously secretive business, where procuring the finest ingredients for a perfume has led many luxury houses to start their own flower growing businesses in Grasse, France, the film exposes the highly competitive, global procurement of scent ingredients.
With unfettered access, the filmmakers follow Demachy to 14 countries over a period of two years. What makes this more than a glorified perfume ad, however, is that the film also explores the lives of growers around the world, as when Demachy visits the remote patchouli plantations of Indonesia. It also takes you inside the company’s creative laboratory in the Fontaine Parfumée, and showcases the rose petal harvest in Grasse, which is where Demachy grew up. Perhaps due to to its gorgeous cinematography, the film premiered at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival in 2020.
Streaming: Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Google Play
The Rose Maker: La Fine Fleur
Set in modern-day France, two feuding rose cultivators go to any lengths to achieve the finest flower in this feel-good comedy from 2021 directed by Pierre Pinaud. The story revolves around Eve (Catherine Frot), a widow who runs a struggling rose farm in a small village in France. When a new neighbour, the wealthy perfume maker Abel (Olivier Gourmet), moves in next door, Eve sees an opportunity to save her business, with a heist of a rare rose and the help of three new hired hands who know nothing about gardening.
The Rose Maker is a charming and lighthearted film that offers a poignant meditation on love, loss, and the beauty of nature. Frot delivers a standout performance as Eve, imbuing the character with a mix of strength and vulnerability that makes her both relatable and endearing. The film's stunning shots of rural France and beautiful soundtrack further enhance the romantic and idyllic atmosphere of the story, all with a typic French comedy-of-errors style.
This period drama film is set in 17th century Amsterdam during the height of the tulip market frenzy. The film tells the story of Sophia (Alicia Vikander), a young orphan girl who is forced into a marriage of convenience with an older, wealthy merchant named Cornelis Sandvoort (Christoph Waltz). Sophia soon falls in love with a young artist named Jan Van Loos (Dane DeHaan), who is hired by Cornelis to paint a portrait of him and his wife. Sophia and Jan begin a passionate affair, but their love is threatened by the chaos of the tulip market and the schemes of Sophia's maid, Maria (Holliday Grainger). The film also features a strong supporting cast, including Zach Galifianakis as a drunken tulip trader named Gerrit, Judi Dench as a wise abbess who takes Sophia under her wing, and Jack O'Connell as a fishmonger who becomes embroiled in Sophia and Jan's affair.
Tulip Fever is directed by Justin Chadwick and based on the novel of the same name by Deborah Moggach. The film was highly anticipated due to its star-studded cast, lavish production design, and lush visuals. Perhaps a tad melodramatic, Tulip Fever is a visually stunning film that offers a glimpse into a fascinating period of Dutch history.
The Secret Garden
The 2020 film adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic children's novel of the same name stars Dixie Egerickx as Mary Lennox, a young orphan girl who is sent to live with her uncle, Archibald Craven (Colin Firth), in his large and remote estate in England. There, she discovers a hidden garden that has been locked up for years, and with the help of her cousin Colin (Edan Hayhurst) and local boy Dickon (Amir Wilson), she sets out to restore the garden to its former glory.
Filmed at various locations throughout England and Wales, one of the most important shooting locations was Iford Manor’s magical Somerset garden designed by Harold Peto in 1910, a year before the original book was published. The 900-acre estate is open to the public and features an Italianate colonnade, cypress trees, and beautiful ruins that appear in the film. Visually, the film is stunning, with lush cinematography and gorgeous production design that brings the story's magical setting to life. Director Marc Munden also incorporates elements of magical realism that add an extra layer of enchantment to the film.
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
This 2006 German film directed by Tom Tykwer is based on the hugely successful novel by Patrick Süskind. As soon as the book came out there was a massive bidding war for the film rights led by Julian Schnabel, who was unsuccessful (he made The Diving Bell and The Butterfly, another stunning film, instead). The film follows the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a man with a remarkable sense of smell, who becomes obsessed with creating the perfect scent.
The film is set in 18th century France and is filled with references to flowers, which play a significant role in the story. Flowers are used as symbols of beauty and innocence, particularly in the character of Laura Richis, who is often seen surrounded by flowers, wearing floral dresses, and embodying a kind of purity and fragility. In contrast, the character of Grenouille is associated with the darker, more pungent smells of the city. As Grenouille's obsession with scent intensifies, he becomes fixated on the smell of young women, eventually leading him to commit a series of murders in order to distill their essence into the ultimate perfume. The flowers, which previously symbolized innocence, now become associated with death and decay, as Grenouille uses them to mask the smell of his victims. The film's climax takes place at a public execution, where Grenouille is forced to confront his own mortality and the futility of his quest for the perfect scent. In the final scene, Grenouille, having achieved his goal, sits in a field of flowers, surrounded by the fragrances he has created, but ultimately alone and unfulfilled.
Streaming: Amazon Prime Video, DisneyPlus, Roku