National Film Board of Canada
Atif Siddiqi enjoys taking the starring role in his creation. His film SOLO begins with a friendly therapy session focusing on intimacy issues. His self-examination is both whimsical and funny. As a performance and video artist, he revels in sharing his dreams and fantasies in his search for Mr. Right, throughout the real-life dates, tango lessons and speed-dating sessions.
In someone else's hands, a clumsy attempted pick up at the local Laundromat wouldn't be as endearing. Such antics are par for the course for a film about love and finding a partner.
But Siddiqi's light-hearted style of filmmaking is more than it appears. As family history and personal trauma interfere with the fantasies, and as the delicate balancing act of Siddiqi's life seems to unravel before the lens, childhood memories take centre stage.
Our personal history insinuates itself into our lives as randomly as does love. As adults, we must make sense of the puzzle of our childhood if we are to move forward.
From the demanding expectations of his traditional Pakistani family to the disclosures of early childhood sexual abuse, Siddiqi's therapy sessions highlight the central themes that have dogged his adult life as a gay man.
Woven into the fabric of SOLO's fanciful bravado are the clues to Mr. Siddiqi's real joys and sorrows. The flights of fancy and poetic reverie, the mythological creations shaped from Indian, Greek and Egyptian gods and goddessesall glitter with the promise of rebirth and renewal.
Melding documentary footage with personal history and performance art, SOLO honours the fragility of self discovery. It sheds new light on the necessity for art and its saving grace. It shows how personal demons must be faced as we learn to trust ourselves and love our partners. SOLO celebrates one gay man's creative journey to self realization with or without Mr. Perfect.
Frances counsels director, Atif Siddiqi, in award-winning National Film Board production "Solo". Click on photo for more