TIFF 2022: Our Review of ‘Self Portrait as a Coffee Pot’

Posted in TIFF 2022 by - September 16, 2022
TIFF 2022: Our Review of ‘Self Portrait as a Coffee Pot’

This is probably the second time I’m saying this ah this year’s TIFF. The festival this year is mostly good when viewers allow themselves into the deep cuts, and I found one of the great ones. Self Portrait as a Coffee Pot is not just a great documentary and a great movie, it’s also one about a very good man behind it. That man is William Kentridge, practitioner of many of the seven arts if not all of them. He captures himself making art in his studio during the first few months of COVID isolation and gives us the right amount of whimsy despite tackling heavy topics that he witnessed as a white man living in South Africa for decades. Sometimes his selves show up.

There are many parts though when one of Kentridge’s selves are off screen so he breaks the fourth wall and tackles the topics I listed above. This is peak stream of consciousness and he doesn’t just tackle macro issues. He, along with one or two other selves, recall memories of his mother, contemplating loss at a time when loss is omnipresent. This is one of the few documentaries that capture history from the past few decades and he didn’t even have to leave his apartment for it. The past shows up through his work that he creates and recreates and deconstructs. Personally, viewers can appreciate art better while watching its creator in action. And a creator humble enough to know art’s layered emotional impact.

Correction: Self Portrait as a Coffee Pot is on the TIFF Docs program even if it’s a miniseries. Still great.

  • Release Date: 9/15/2022
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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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