Fabergé: A Life of Its OwnCultureCinemaMovie reviews
The world of Fabergé is one that has projected the glow of grandiosity from its very origins, with founder Carl Peter Fabergé having catered personally for the tastes of the Russian Imperial family. Fabergé: A Life of Its Own chronicles the journey of this Russian jeweller, celebrating the talented craftsmanship of an individual who remains a figure of admiration in an opulent world that perpetually demands to be held in reverence by all.
Fabergé: A Life of Its Own interweaves the jeweller’s family history with the particulars of specific artefacts, interviewing a variety of Fabergé specialists, court jewellers, relatives and social historians who all have some degree of insight into this palatial trading corner. The problem is that this corner is one for those with very specific and lavish taste, and the documentary’s largely drowsy demeanour means that anyone without at least a mild interest in jewellery will find little to keep their minds occupied for an hour and a half.
To its credit, this documentary does take account of an audience stretching beyond jewel artefact aficionados, unravelling any esoteric terminology in an efficient manner without getting bogged down by its own explanations. Unfortunately, the way in which the film finely balances its prospective viewer demographic fails to compensate for its distinct lack of bite. There are only so many glistening jewels one can marvel at before they begin to lose their sense of visual appeal.
Writer/director Patrick Mark employs two specific filming techniques for the picture’s duration, which grow tiresome very quickly: one that involves allowing his camera to sit and spin ever so slightly to one side while observing a building or room, and the other involving a soft zoom in or out when examining artefacts or paintings up close. The result feels like a TV documentary: a curiously unremarkable experience for such ostentatious subject matter.
Those captivated by the twinkle of Fabergé jewellery will undoubtedly find much to marvel at in Mark’s documentary, but those less familiar with the extravagance and class of this sparkling industry may just find Fabergé: A Life of Its Own reminiscent of the kind of doc they might have been forced into watching on a school museum trip in their youth.
Fabergé: A Life of Its Own is released nationwide on 29th June 2015.
Watch the trailer for Fabergé: A Life of Its Own here: