My first impression before watching Iris was hoping that it would be at least somewhat enjoyable. I didn’t figure that it would be a bad film, I just keep my expectation low for most things so if the film or whatever turned out to be garbage, then I wouldn’t be totally disappointed because I already had a sense of doubt. Yet, that wasn’t the case for Iris. I can actually say it was a superb film. Iris, who the film is about, is a truly fascinating character whose story needed to be told.
Iris is definitely the quintessential New Yorker who without even considering her impact on fashion, also created her style that would became iconic. She had journeyed all throughout the city in search for new accessories and pieces to use for her wardrobe without considering what the norm is in the fashion industry. Instead of spending hundreds, perhaps thousands of dollar on name brand jewelry, she would hunt for cute little trinkets, bangles and necklaces from little shops in Harlem or throughout the downtown area. “Fashion is narcissistic adults playing dress-up and then congratulating themselves for it.” That can be true for designers trying to become famous now but that isn’t Iris. She never aimed to please anyone, she did what she did and wore what she wore because it made her happy. She didn’t want to be the next big name in fashion, the fashion life chose her.
Iris relationship with her husband over the last six decades has been beautiful, loving and fun. Simply put, their relationship has been a blast. The fact that they had unanimously chosen not to have kids must have been hard, yet they managed to live together in perfect harmony. They both have this amazing sense of humor that really does liven the mood. Together, they are the dynamic duo. With her husband always accompanying Iris on her travels, they have a remarkable collection of not only items, accessories and clothes, but of pictures that captured their moments and stories.
Iris unknowingly made a mark in the fashion industry but her obsession with collecting had started way before her spotlight in fashion. She had started in the garment and fabric business, then she had become a very popular interior designer. As an interior designer she felt it was necessary to travel the world with her husband looking for certain items that would be interesting pieces. Knowing what Iris had done prior to being found and portrayed as the “rare bird of fashion” shows that her collecting habit is not the daily activities of an old rich women. Can they be classified as the artistic pursuit of a cultured women? Possibly. However, I feel that collecting things from all over the world (haggling with vendors in tiny shops deep within the Alps, little stands in South America or a small African shop in Harlem) is her true passion. Iris Apfel is a trail blazer, especially because she had no idea where she’d end up at.
NYC’s Bowery, the beginning of the 20th century. The slums that became over populated due to massive migration of thousands of peoples from all corners of the world. Life in the overflowing melting pot was hectic and tragic. Owen was orphaned early in his life and was taken in by another family which had their own marital problem that became too overwhelming for him. After running away from that broken home, he lived on the streets of a cruel and unrelenting world where opportunities were scarce and illegalities ran rampant. Even with his own morals, he eventually succumbed to the underground world where he had become the leader of a gang. Then he crossed paths with Mamie, a woman of higher social status who had seen struggle and pain of the people had chosen to help the community.
With her motherly presence and loving attention, Owen grew apart from his gang. Once Owen had retired from the gang life, Skinny had taken charge. Skinny had a somewhat similar upbringing that Owen had endured. But for Skinny, being part of a gang was the only life and family he had ever known. Owen had finally found peace and true happiness with Mamie. Skinny was still getting in trouble with the authorities, so much so he stabbed an officer who was harassing him. Skinny had evaded the police with the help of Owen but in the end Skinny had betrayed him. In attempt to sexually assault Mamie, Owen heard of this treachery and ran to her aid. While fighting Skinny, Skinny had drawn a gun and tried to shoot Owen but missed and hit Mamie instead. On her death bed, Mamie pleaded with Owen to not seek revenge. So when Owen had the perfect opportunity to end Skinny’s life, he had listened to Mamie’s words and let Skinny live. As Skinny tried to flee town, fate had been waiting. Skinny was shoot by Owen’s friend and had fallen to his death mid-escape. Owen had lost the love of his life. Yet, if he had walked the path of vengeance, then he would have been corrupted and lost, perhaps even becoming worse than Skinny had ever been.
In American history, Thomas Edison was a true visionary that gave us the light bulb, phonograph and arguably the first ever motion picture. In the beginning Edison, along with the assistance of William Dickenson, decided to follow the path of esteemed innovators such as Muybridge and others to create devices that would record movement and another to view the recording. Together they created the Kinetophonograph, which wasn’t too effective with its faulty pulley mechanism. Edison is credited for Kinetograph’s creation but it was Dickenson who was the developer. Dickenson also came up with the Kinetoscope to project recordings. After Edison taking credit for all of Dickenson’s work, Dickenson had left to create his own company, American Mutoscope Company. Edison, a cocky and brash entrepreneur, now realized that his own protege had become his worst threat. So Edison done everything he could to keep his stranglehold on the film industry. He sued his competitors and bought many patents all to stop others from threatening his company. After realizing suing his opponents wasn’t going to cut it, he came up with the next best thing; Motion Pictures Patent company. This company made it much more difficult for anyone to get into the film business.