If you’ve never been you haven’t lived until you visit Bloodroot, the pioneering vegetarian restaurant and bookstore, tucked along a cove at the end of Ferris Street in Black Rock where Noel Furie and Selma Miriam have hosted thousands for 40 years. The story of Bloodroot is as organic as they come, two women staring down social norms to embrace the things they love. Together they built a community treasure that becomes a platform for food, thoughtfulness, debate and ideas. For some Bloodroot, the idea, was an acquired taste, for many others a brave undertaking cutting against the grain of social barriers.
Douglas Tirola’s (Drunk, Stoned, Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon, Festival 2015) latest documentary traces the evolution of feminism through the lives of two exceptional women, Noel and Selma, who came of age in the ’50s when women were relegated to the roles of wives and mothers. During the height of the women’s movement, Noel, a former teen model and Playboy bunny, meets and falls in love with Selma, a tough, outspoken radical feminist. Both women choose to leave their comfortable, yet unsatisfying marriages and children to come out as lesbians. The two share a love of cooking and gardening and, in the ’70s, open Bloodroot, the first vegetarian collective restaurant and bookstore in Bridgeport, Connecticut. By interspersing archival footage and clips from The Stepford Wives, Tirola affectionately chronicles the cultural shifts of the last 40 years as Noel and Selma attempt to keep Bloodroot open as an indispensable gathering spot for progressive women.