Thursday, March 17, 2011

SXSW2011 Self Made

Self Made
Dir. Gillian Wearing

Synopsis: A diverse group of British people respond to an ad from artist Gillian Wearing.  Taking part in an experiment with Method acting, they find themselves for the first time confronting their innermost personal truths.

So, in case you hadn't picked up on it yet, my SXSW posts are going to try to remain pretty spoiler-less(?), and the format of these posts are a little different with the synopsis up top.  I'm doing this mainly so that you can see what is posted in the SXSW film guide a) so that you can see what very little I know about these movies and what to expect upon walking into the approximate hour and a half in darkness I spend with these movies, and b) because some of these are actually a little difficult to find information online about.  I noticed there was something (I think the Storm Thurgson documentary) that doesn't even have a cast and crew thing up on imdb yet.  So, I'm taking you on a journey with me this week into the good and the bad, but mostly good, that I'm encountering.

Back to Self Made.

This movie could have gone about a zillion ways from the synopsis, but it actually took a very interesting route.  The art of method acting and finding a performance from within ones self rather than finding it around you has always been a very interesting thing to most.  The whole idea of trying to recall emotions from experiences and not just becoming the character and taking yourself there, but instead bringing the character out of you ranges between exhilarating to insanity very easily it seems.  But you can always seem to notice where the performance is coming from due to the charge behind it.  Amazing things can come from such a strangely practiced craft.

Well, this movie comes from the documentary perspective with inner-cuts of interviews with the main participants, their warm up activities, rehearsals, virtually therapy, and their  final performances.  As the synopsis says, people were chosen after they contacted the director who simply put a classified ad out for  people that want to be in a movie.  The people chosen were a wide array of people, but none were really actors.  Just your run of the mill bunch.  But, Sam Rumbelow, their method acting coach begins preparing them in what seems like a very strange way.  He talks with them about their lives and they share their hardships, and he teaches them to use them on film.  And as a man behind me in line for another movie said to a friend, "Things get real."

I really feel like this movie is worth your time if you are interested in ever becoming an actor or a director just in the amazing transformation these people make.  I'm not sure if I've seen much more powerful acting on screen.  These people were only with the coach for two weeks, and from the UK, where method acting doesn't seem to be hailed as much in comparison with the classical style.  Otherwise, this movie is extremely dramatic in nature, and very deep.  Not something to pop in on the weekend with friends.  But still, an amazingly moving and honest film.

Run Time - 88 minutes + 2754 = 2842 (nearly 48 hours of straight movie watching)

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