Self Made is a painful film to watch. It’s very much not the kind of thing you want to go with your pizza for some relaxation and entertainment. But in fairness, it didn’t turn out quite as awful as the beginning led me to believe. Not quite.
Directed by Gillian Wearing, it features seven people she advertised for to be in a film. To begin with these perfectly normal two women and five men learn breathing and what I can only describe as silly yoga noises, which caused Daughter to splurt orange juice all over the place.
Their instructor is Sam Rumbelow who mostly resembles a strangely dressed psychologist or psychiatrist, and he would never get me to do what those people did. On film.
They seem to be exorcising their (sad) pasts, or at least something inspired by their lives. So there is bullying, bad fathers causing a bout of King Lear, childlessness and loneliness, an Elvis fantasy and a Mussolini impersonation. There is (the idea of) suicide, and a dead pig gets a good kicking. Lots of tears and lots of confessions on camera.
It’s almost impossible to judge what’s real and what’s totally fictional (if anything) and what’s somewhere in between. Two of them got very little screen time. Were they not damaged enough as people, I wonder?
I hope these ‘volunteers’ weren’t used. It was hard to judge. And to be frank, I found this too real for entertainment.
(On at Cornerhouse until next week.)