Format: 35mm Colour
Runtime: 89 min
Conquering Lion Productions Inc.
"There are 10 million Nubian fairy tales in the projects on this sacred Ojibway ground," announces pirate radio prophet Rude. Her butterscotch voice caresses and provokes the collective soul of Toronto's Regent Park, the housing project where the film's director, Clement Virgo, grew up. Riding a poetic, passionate edge where the familiar implodes and the magic takes control, Virgo weaves three tales into a parable of hope, resurrection and transformation.
From her illicit broadcast booth, Rude conjures an ominous Easter weekend — copulation, crucifixion, cruelty and a lion on the loose, representing the three tales that unravel during the film. In one section of the projects, a former drug dealer, General Luke, returns from jail to his wife and son determined to build a new life, but the powerful vortex of guns, drugs and money won't let him escape. Elsewhere, young window designer Maxine sits in tortured isolation, replaying videos of better times with the man she loved, as she struggles with the decision of whether to terminate her pregnancy. And in the local gym, Jordan, a young boxer, confronts his loathsome betrayal of his own homosexuality after having taken part in a gang assault on a gay man in the park.
As one story dissolves into the next, Rude's words resonate: "Dysfunctional illusion, sweet and sour delusion, primal desire, spiritual evolution, I wonder if I shall rise up from my sublime demise."
Virgo is a consummate cinematic storyteller: he delights in lush visuals, rapid-fire pacing, subversive language, stylish abstractions and loaded symbols; he moves with brash clarity and assured control from the sacred to the profane. The performances are consistently exacting and Rude's broadcasts are perfectly complemented by a soundtrack featuring Dream Warriors, King Cobb Steelie and Molly Johnson. Rude is a thoroughly invigorating experience.