THE BIRTH OF SHOPPING
Partners: Essential Media and Entertainment, Telfrance for ARTE and SBS; distributed by ZED
Length: 1 x 52 minutes and 2 x 52 minutes
Aired: July 2011 (SBS One)
Rights available: Worldwide
Where, oh where, would we be without the department store? Be it Bloomingdales or Wal-Mart, the almighty shrine to consumerism is more than just a mere collection of goods, or so this well-crafted documentary posits.
The rise of the department store certainly promoted the advent of consumer culture and, according to evidence presented here, it also propelled the emancipation of women. Combining lavishly rendered re-enactments and expert interviews with diary excerpts and poster art from the day, the doc provides a glimpse into the vision fostered by such retail legends as Rowland H. Macy and Harry Selfridge – a vision of empowerment and aspiration, accompanied by a soundtrack of clinking coins and ringing cash registers.