Film: Self(less) Portraits (2014)

April 26, 2014 | By


SelflessPortrait_pic_bFilm: Very Good

Transfer:  n/a  Extras: n/a

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Released:  n/a

Genre:  Documentary / Hot Docs 2014

Synopsis: The personal details of 50 ordinary people are interwoven in this lengthy collage using on-camera confessions and slightly experimental visuals and sound design.

Special Features:  n/a




The personal reflections, confessions, and deeply private thoughts of 50 people might be a bit heavy at 98 mins., but Danic Champoux’s semi-experimental film is a meticulously arranged collage of human vulnerabilities, captured by a locked camera that occasionally slow-zooms towards the raconteurs seated against a stark white background. The topics in this NFB-produced doc may seem dour – suicide, alcoholism, marriage, motherhood, emotionally abusive spouses and childhood trauma – but the diversity of subjects assures any one viewer will be provoked and sympathize with at least one of Champoux’s subjects.

It’s one thing to see personal stories packaged between TV ads or slapped online in stark, rambling blocks of text, but the simple on-camera exchanges with the off-camera director reminds us of the natural way people discuss, seek guidance, and process personal issues.

Champoux uses murky sound design and blots of bright light and dark shadows to break up and accent the confessions, and while there may not be any closure to some of the stories, the subjects’ ongoing struggles makes Self(less) Portraits especially affecting.



© 2014 Mark R. Hasan



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Hot Docs 2014 Listing
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Category: Blu-ray / DVD Film Review

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