Self-Portrait as a Coffee Pot
William Kentridge / ZA, US, 2022 / 110 min.
In his studio, the celebrated South African artist William Kentridge treats us to his playful philosophical thoughts on the impossibility of knowing oneself. A brilliant, witty self-portrait, with a key role for the coffee pot.
The celebrated South African artist William Kentridge opens the doors of his studio and treats us to his playful philosophical thoughts on the impossibility of knowing oneself. Through animation, performance, collage and charcoal drawings he creates a witty and imaginative self-portrait.
He literally enters into a dialogue with himself: Kentridge interviews Kentridge, both in shot at the same time—in his studio, the impossible becomes possible. The film also pays tribute to the inventiveness of early film and the special effects of Georges Méliès. The result is a brilliant experiment with form and ideas, in which the coffee pot turns out to play a central role.
In the part entitled “Vanishing Points,” we see Kentridge making wall-sized charcoal drawings of his childhood in Johannesburg, after which he summarizes his views on colonialism, apartheid and gold mining in a few well-chosen strokes. He captivatingly attempts to answer philosophical questions about chaos, possibilities, the ascription of meaning, and our place in the world with the only material he needs: paper and charcoal.
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