From October 26 until November 1, Rosie Stapel‘s ‘Portrait of a Garden’ will screen at Film Forum New York. This movie is written, produced, and directed by Rosie Stapel and shows the hardships that owner Daan van der Have and master-gardener Jan Freriks had to endure to keep the most beautiful and oldest kitchen garden of the Netherlands in prime condition. Stapel followed both men around for four continuing seasons for what can only be described as one elongated pruning and harvesting turn on an area of 3.7 acres. In 98 minutes, the viewer learns in a rapid way about the patience that Van der Have and Freriks have had for over fifteen years to grow an arbor of pear trees to full maturity and blossom. The growing of espalier fruit or grapes in antique greenhouses asks for as least as much perseverance and knowledge. This knowledge has been passed through generations, because fertilizer and chemical agents are completely forbidden at Dordwijk. In ‘Portrait of a Garden’, Rosie Stapel focusses primarily on the devotion and precision her main characters use to experience “the divine of nature”, as Van der Have quotes the philosopher Spinoza. Set in a picturesque garden on a grand country estate, the main characters are two long-time friends, the 85-year-old pruning master, and the gardener. Surrounded by vegetable patches, citrus trees, the orchard and lush grapevines, they talk about food, the weather, their craft (which is quickly disappearing) and the changing world around them. For fifteen years, they’ve been working on the pear arbor. But will it finally come together this year? And what about the harvest, will it be ready for the end-of-season banquet?
Get tickets for one of the screenings here.