Rude (Sharon M. Lewis) is the name of a female pirate radio DJ who represents the collective consciousness of the community and might be the sole comprehensible thread in this feature length tone poem. Aimed more toward an experimental video art audience, this film might be difficult, to say the least, a the run-of-the-mill viewer. It's rap gone visual.

Notably the first 35 mm dramatic feature in Canada to be written, directed and produced by a Black team, writer/director Clement Virgo created the script as a response to the new genre of exploitative Black films. Virgo's previous short films "Save My Poor Nigga' Soul" (1993) and "A Small Dick Fleshy Ass Thang" (1991) have been screened at festivals around the world, with the former winning several Canadian awards.

At moments visually striking and equally confusing, "Rude" is a triptych containing characters who struggle for redemption on an Easter weekend in the big, bad city. The three figures include window dresser Maxine (Rachael Crawford), gay boxer Jordon (Richard Chevolleau), and painter (Maurice Dean Wint). The first suffers from post natal depression, the second regrets an evening of gay-bashing, and the third has troubled times as he stops dealing drugs. As far as Rude (Lewis) goes, she's a DJ who lacks the flair or class of a similar figure seen (or unseen) several years ago in Walter Hill's "The Warriors". Rude might have the potential of being a darker and more imposing figure, but Virgo never quite seems to pull it off.

I don't mean to be rude, but I will be short. Financed with the support of the Canadian Film Centre's Feature Film Project, a non-profit organization set up by Norman Jewison, one wonders as one leaves the cinema exactly what it was all about while being amazed at how indecipherable the plot line is. As Virgo admits, "I came up with the structure of the film before I came up with the stories." It shows, Clement.

© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett