THE CHRISTMAS CAKE (Documentary)
The Christmas Cake
The Christmas Cake is a documentary about two very old, very tiny but highly spirited Australian Labor Party matriachs, Jessie and Mollie, who tell stories about their remarkable lives as they bake the annual family Christmas cake.
This is Katey and David Grusovin’s touching documentary about the entwined lives of their grandmother and grand-aunt opens with a panorama of the bowls and ingredients used to make the famed family Christmas cake. Using the cake as a spine, the documentary explores the lives of these two Australian women brought together by a marriage and kept together by need.
Outgoing and exuberant, Jessie met and married Tom Brereton. Together they raised five children and enjoyed a “very happy marriage.” Though they had difficulties and disagreements, they helped and balanced each other. After Tom’s father passed on, his younger sister, Molly, and his mother moved in with him and Jessie. While this made for a crowed home, it also gave Jessie an extra pair of hands to help with the children.
Molly, an introvert by nature, never married and continued to live with Jessie and Tom after their mother died. Both women were active in the Australian Labour Party with the household often hosting gatherings for party members. While Jessie contributed her labor to handing out flyers and such, Molly was the more politically active, campaigning aggressively for the candidates.
With the passing of Tom in 1984, Jessie and Molly remained together out of need and practicality. They would not have chosen each other as friends and had significant differences in their routines and temperament; however, they loved the same family and managed to live together for over fifty years. The making of the Christmas cakes is woven throughout the documentary, symbolic of the tradition and family that bound the two women together.
Producers: Sally Browning
Director: Katey Grusovin & David Grusovin