Monday, May 05, 2014

Sean Kelly

Hot Docs 2014: Self(less) Portrait


This semi-experimental documentary features intimate confessional interviews with 50 unique individuals. Sitting in front of a blank white screen, these people talk about everything from relationships, the search for identity, family violence, depression, suicide, sexuality, mental illness, aliens, religion and death.  These interviews are accompanied by a subtle synthesized score and the occasion inclusion of experimental visuals.

Probably the biggest issue with Self(less) Portrait is the film’s length.  With a 98 minute running time, the film is way too long for what it is and it quickly became a chore to sit through.  While the various confessional interviews are interesting to listen to, there came a point when I was just waiting for the film to end.  It didn’t really help that the film often featured cutaway shots, which resulted in false expectations that the film was wrapping up, only for another interview to start.  Self(less) Portrait would have been much more enjoyable if it was presented as a short film, which ended after 10-20 minutes.

Of the 50 or so individuals featured in the film, only two or three left a lasting impression.  These individuals included a tattooed guy with a mohawk and a another who seemed to be a professional wrester.  There was also someone, who showed up towards the end of the film and started talking about aliens, which was a change from the usual life and death discussions featured in the film.  Overall, while Self(less) Portrait started off interesting, it seemingly did not know when to end, resulting in a very hard to sit through viewing experience.


Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).