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.

–Ted Shen

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo from Rude.