The Man Behind
Review by Mark Schwab
Ok I'll admit it. One of my guilty pleasures is watching the show Hoarders which details some seriously distrubed individuals who collect mountains of things to an extraordinary extent. It is car-accident fascinating to watch someone's subconcious ooze into the material world. So when this title came across my desk (could one person really own 55.000 dresses??!!!), I was excited and ready for the crazy to begin.
But then a very surprising thing happened with Stacy Stone and Diane Mellen's short documentary. It turns out to be a very sweet story with truly romantic undertones detailing the extraordinary 55,000 dress collection of one Paul Brockmann.
Escaping the nightmare that was Nazi Germany as a boy, Paul became entranced by the fashion design, the craftmanship, and even the audible "swishing" sound a dress makes as it glides around a dance floor. So he began collecting and enjoying how his new finds looked on his wife.
Which makes Paul comes across different from your typical "hoarder". Of course someone who takes 50+ years to collect 55,000 dresses (all meticulously taken care of, wrapped and pressed) must fall under the heading of "eccentric" but Paul is not a tortured soul clinging memories to objects. The dresses augment his joy of family - they do not replace it. Stone and Mellen seem well aware of this and do a great job of presenting their subject with a light touch and excellent editing.
There are a couple more delightful twists in this doc that I'll let you discover. There is one thing that you can take to the bank though. The Man Behind 55,000 Dresses is a true gem of a short documentary.
*Submitted through the Diamond in the Rough Films SUBMISSION FORM