Minus its hip theatrical facade, this first feature by Canadian director Clement Vigo is no more than a triptych of familiar tales from the 'hood. Its central panel, the story that takes the lion's share of screen time, features a would-be muralist fresh out of prison who's tempted to return to the drug trade that provides the quickest source of income for his family. His dilemma is couched in racial terms: he's a proud man whose options are viciously limited. The other two stories are far more self-indulgent: one concerns a window dresser and her decision to have an abortion, the other a gay boxer trapped in the closet. All three stories are told in striking visual styles that draw from surrealism, performance art, and MTV. A sense of continuity is maintained by the title character (seen only in extreme close-ups), a smoky-voiced DJ on a pirate radio station who serves as agent provocateur and collective voice of the community, a Toronto housing project where the Jamaican-born Vigo grew up. The DJ's exhortations are Brechtian commentaries that at times border on preachiness. And the obvious symbolism--Easter weekend as the time frame in which the stories unfold--is sometimes grating. But grit, conviction, and artfulness are plentiful in Vigo's feverish poetical vision and Rude's production values are excellent for its low budget, courtesy of a talented, largely black crew. Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Friday, July 19, 7:00 and 9:00; Saturday and Sunday, July 20 and 21, 3:00, 5:00, 7:00, and 9:00; and Monday through Thursday, July 22 through 25, 7:00 and 9:00; 281-4114.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo from Rude.