Tensions emerge between housemates Daisuke (Toshiyuki Chiba) and Hana (Mikiko Ooka) as he prepares to leave Australia.
Shortland and her production team bathe the screen with washes of colour that express the emotions for which the characters do not use words. These scenes are permeated with alienation, melancholy and desire. Shortland uses similar cool tones and red accents in Somersault (2004). The moment where Hana takes the camera signals a shift in our perception of their relationship, which is fully revealed when Daisuke returns to Japan and finally watches what she recorded.
In this and Shortland’s other films, a sense of place is fundamental to story and mood. Like Pentuphouse (1998), one of Flowergirl’s inspirations was the apartment the characters lived in. Shortland had a run-down Bondi apartment in mind while writing the script, where friends of hers used to live. The team managed to line up this exact apartment as their filming location – but discovered it had been redecorated since Shortland’s friends lived there. Production designer Melinda Doring then worked on restoring its original, more run-down texture.
Doring and cinematographer Robert Humphreys have worked on many projects together, including the short Delivery Day (2000), which makes an interesting comparison with Flowergirl for its use of colour and evocation of place. Shortland cites Wong Kar-Wai’s films as an influence on Flowergirl’s cinematography.