King’s College graduates tell remarkable tale
The crux of a truly effective documentary film is its power to emotionally and intellectually transform the viewer.
When a real story — featuring real people’s thoughts, struggles and fights for justice — can reel the viewer in and make them feel like they’re part of the journey, that’s the mark of a success.
Perfume War, the story of Canadian Armed Forces veteran Trevor Greene’s fight to overcome a brain injury and his best friend’s quest to bring stability to the Afghan people, is a tale of two triumphs that will tug at the heartstrings of audiences.
When Greene suffered a vicious axe attack to the head in Afghanistan, he was told he would never walk again. So his friend, Barb Stegemann, launched her own perfume, derived from Afghan orange blossoms and roses. This idea brought the fragrance to shops instead of leaving blossoms and roses to be made into opium, as farmers could sell their crops without contributing to the drug trade.
Stegemann — the fragrance’s creator — expanded to Rwanda and Haiti, and she and Greene’s intertwining journeys are told with great care by director Michael Melski.
What the three bring together is a lasting film that deserved every second of the standing ovation it received Wednesday night at the Oxford Theatre showing.
The world premiere brought an emotional film to the screen, and it happens to be one of the best-made of the festival.
Perhaps much of the interest stems from the fact that Melski, Greene and Stegemann all went to the University of King’s College decades ago, and that feeling that comes from seeing the powerful strides three incredible people have taken since their education here is something to be proud of.
To see these three doing incredible things for the world made me proud to say I am from the same alma mater, and this captivating film is something the whole crew should be proud of.
Perfume War is an unforgettable experience that will imprint on the viewer, and leave a lasting impression for all time.
The stranger-than-fiction story is gripping and intimately told. This film is truly remarkable, and gets my vote as one of the best of this year’s festival.