There are two ways of looking at Danic Champoux’s innovative documentary Self(less) Portrait. On the one hand it is a unique, insightful window into the human soul and all its most secret thoughts and darkest of dreams. On the other hand it is an exploitative and voyeuristic account of the confessions of troubled and vulnerable people who are probably in need of counselling with greater validity than of a simple camera. It is unarguable that this film treads a fine line in teasing both sides of this delicate balance.
Self(less) Portrait operates within a simple, functional premise. From a virtually fixed camera position fifty people drawn from every facet of society and each exhibiting unique and interesting qualities are encouraged to bare their souls. Their stories vary from simple tales of affection to disturbing accounts of abuse and self loathing resulting in suicide attempts and depression. The one connecting and slightly tragically hopeful connection between them all is love, or at least each person’s perception of this elusive emotion. Every person documented has either a personal and intimate story of love or are clearly giving the impression they are in search of or in desperate need of it. For some this is as simple as black and white; when you fall in love, well, you fall in love. Others have slightly more convoluted versions to tell but each relates back to this constant in some way.