Perfume de Gardenias

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Date(s) - 10/06/2022
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

The Smith Opera House


After years of caring for her bedridden husband, Isabel becomes a widow. Her days feel empty so she agrees to help her neighbor Toña decorate the carpenter’s funeral. Heartfelt creativity is required to make the simple wooden coffin his family could afford look a little less gloomy. Isabel uses elements from the carpenter’s workshop, from sawdust to a jigsaw on top of the coffin. Although not everyone likes her efforts, Isabel continues to decorate other funerals cheered on by Toña.

With each coffin, her creativity blossoms, incorporating details from the deceased’s life story that will celebrate them in their funeral rites.  One day, Toña confesses that she assists the sick in their transition to die and Isabel recoils at the thought. Isabel hides from Toña who is taking care of her neighbor who has terminal cancer. When the neighbor is ready to die, Tona asks Isabel for one last favor. Isabel says no until she understands that in nature some things must die for others to live.

Created by a mostly female production team, PERFUME DE GARDENIAS is a Caribbean story on the universal theme of death. The film’s visuals include colorful and unusual installations that have been worked in an unconventional way by a team of artists from different art disciplines. Writer and director, Macha Colón, brings us a film that pays homage to all the mothers who care for Puerto Rican families.

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