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A Man Named Pearl
A Man Named Pearl
Actors: Pearl Fryar, Cecil Stokes
Director: Scott Galloway; Brent Pierson
Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary
G     2008     1hr 18min

Balanced gracefully on a ladder, deftly carving with his electric hedge trimmer, Pearl Fryar has the elegance and strength of a dancer. He is, by contrast, a topiary sculptor, an artist whose medium is discarded or junk pl...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Pearl Fryar, Cecil Stokes
Director: Scott Galloway; Brent Pierson
Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, African American Heritage, Nature & Wildlife
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 11/25/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 18min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 7
MPAA Rating: G (General Audience)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

In Pearl Fryar's hands, everything grows
Jean E. Pouliot | Newburyport, MA United States | 10/23/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Pearl Fryar is an extraordinary man, self-made to be sure. The son of a sharecropper, he seemingly has an innate sense about the way plants grow, blessed with a keen, artistic mind. Combined, these talents have made him almost obsessed about turning his modest, 3-acre property in tiny Bishopville, South Carolina into a work of topiary art. Using cast-off plants from a local greenhouse, he creates and beautiful Eden in his backyard. The film is a paean to his efforts, his vision and his effect on his community.

There's a tendency to see Pearl as a sort of backwoods topiary savant. But listen to him speak to college art classes, and you will hear a articulate man who embodies the artistic impulse and inspires students to leave their sketchbooks behind and reach into their hearts. He may not have gained his knowledge from textbooks, but from Nature itself, the source of the textbooks. The film interviews Pearl, his wife and son, neighbors, his pastor and his many friends. The "best supporting actor" has to go to the head of the local Chamber of Commerce. Though his feet-on-the-desk, salesy manner might remind some of Uncle Kip in "Napoleon Dynamite," he sems truly appreciative of Pearl and his potential to bring a few more touirists into town.

Played as a fiction, "A Man Named Pearl" would have been set as a standard against-all-obstacles story. This film is not so craven as to invent huge villains for Pearl to overcome. The standard demons of lingering racial stratification, self-esteem, community doubt and the clock will have to do. A fine film that shows what human bengs are capable of when given the light, air and space to grow. Kind of like plants."
Laugh, cry, see it again
W. Harrington | Mount Pleasant, SC | 11/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I'll just say that in its 2 short runs in Charleston, SC, I saw it 4 times -- with my wife and with 2 twenty-somthings and then with an 86-year-old. Thumbs-up all around.

Have been anxiously awaiting the DVD release to share with as many friends and relatives as possible this Christmas.

Pearl Fryar Visions of Topiary Art and Education
Deborah West | Columbia, SC | 03/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Bishopville, SC is located in Lee County, one of SC poorest counties. Poor in economics but not poor in the richness of their citizens. Pearl Fryar is a remarkable man that has put Bishopville, SC on the map. He started with a small seed of a dream to win "Yard of the Month". His creative muse was unleashed with a 5-minute lesson on how to create a topiary with a chain saw from a plant rescued from a compost pile at City Nursery Wholesale Farm (one of seven nursery farms in the US licensed to grow 'Encore' Azaleas.
From one topiary grew two to three to Pearl's entire 2-acre property. His message and philosophy is outlined in his garden with plants that spell, "Peace, Love & Goodwill". Pearl is using his creative gift to support and lift up students in Lee County by receiving donations which he uses as scholarships to average "C" students in his community. He is a leader in his community with the theory "it takes a village to raise a child". Pearl and his wife recognized the challenges young people have in their community with low incomes and decided to do something positive to help lift them up and away from a possible life of drugs and crime. Pearl and his wife are among many unsung American heros living in our backyards. I think every school and library should have a copy of this DVD and share Pearl's message of "Love, hope and goodwill" with all students. You will find yourself laughing, crying and filled with inspiration when you watch this DVD. After you watch his DVD check out his website and visit his garden. You will be transformed!"