Everyone arrives for a different reason, but collectively their goal is the same. Leave your judgment at home because at Sunsport Gardens in Florida, “nudity is expected.” It says so on the sign in the office. The naturist property operates similarly to a co-op. Residents own shares in the corporation and a board that makes decisions for the entirety of the community. But, there also appears to be a rental office. This option proves to be a challenge to some of the residents’ way of life. Tribeca 2022 delivers a unique doc with Naked Gardens.
The fact that these residents allowed cameras into the community communicates how comfortable they are in their skin. Here’s what audiences need to understand; society has decided what the rules are. Clothing didn’t always exist. Men have sexualized the naked body. This programming proved inherently true as I found myself staring while watching the film. The residents are not always nude. You sporadically see everyone dressed at one time or another. Christmas is one of those occasions. The tween-aged residents always appear clothed. One of their main goals is protecting the children.
The style of the doc is observational cinema. There are no sit-down interviews, just simple daily interactions between residents within the months leading up to their annual festival. What filmmakers Ivete Lucas & Patrick Bresnan catch on camera is undoubtedly intriguing. They are intimate moments and mundane moments. Naked Gardens showcases a group of earnest people trying to live a harmonious and simple way of life. If nothing else, you have to respect that.
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