If you were to play a part in a film, would you be yourself or a fictional character?
In 2007, Gillian Wearing placed an advert in local and national newspapers, online and in job centres around London and Newcastle. Hundreds of people responded and seven people were selected to appear in Self Made, where they attend a Method Acting workshop to explore their fantasy selves. The workshops are led by experienced drama teacher Sam Rumbelow and form the core of the film. As the film progresses, the participants use real life experiences to bring their characters to life, and ultimately star in their own mini-film. Revelation is key to the process, as is creating an environment that allows the unexpected to happen.
Turner prize-winning artist Gillian Wearing has worked in video art before, but with Self Made makes an intriguing feature debut with a film that treads a precarious line between art, documentary and fiction.
Michael Moore and a few others have made the leap into ‘reality cinema’ but nobody has taken it as far as Wearing has.
A compelling exercise that deliberately blurs the lines between documentary and fiction. Artfully constructed and thought provoking.
This film is mesmerising from the second it starts to the moment it ends and stays with you hours after leaving it. A genuinely moving and interesting documentary intelligently realised. 4/5
Documentary segues into drama, and the film is a lucid, concise précis of a project of great emotional intensity. 4/5
Wearing’s cast of non-professionals is engaging and charismatic.
This absorbing debut from Brit artist-turned-director Gillian Wearing skilfully smudges the boundaries between documentary and fiction. 4/5