Rude (1995) was the first feature film collaboration between Clement Virgo and Damon D'Oliveira, after they met at a Canadian Film Centre residency program in 1991. The film was produced by Conquering Lion Pictures with the assistance of the CFC, and screened at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival. The film premiered to a Canadian audience at the Toronto International Film Festival later that year, as part of the Perspectives Canada program.
The film focuses on a series of three interrelated stories in the Regent Park area of Toronto. This triptych structure explores elements of Black Canadian life through characters such as Maxine, a depressed and lonely window dresser; Jordan, a homophobic yet repressed boxer; and an artistically talented drug-dealer known as “The General”. Tied together by the struggles of navigating their inner-city neighbourhood, their lives are also interspersed with the sultry and unrestrained voice of Rude, a local pirate radio host.
In John McCullough’s review, “Rude; or the Elision of Class in Canadian Movies”, the film is praised for its “technical beauty, the imaginative interweaving of three distinct narratives and its believable and well-rendered characters” (1999, p. 20). Situating the film in Toronto, the city can be viewed as a symbol of Western oppression and decadence, while the Regent Park area is represented with elements of magical realism. Redemption becomes a mythical quest, while an idea of Canadian national identity is pitted against the “spectre of U.S. imperial reach” (McCullough, 1999, p. 23).
Virgo and D'Oliveira’s breakthrough debut is a stunningly original addition to Canadian cinema. Rude was also the first Canadian dramatic feature to be written, produced, and directed by an all-black team. Critically acclaimed, the film picked up the Cannes Camera D’Or and “Best Canadian Film” award at both Cinefest and the Atlantic Film Festival, as well as 8 nominations for Genie awards and the Claude Jutra Award. In 2017, TIFF screened a new digital restoration of Rude, as part of their programme of restored Canadian classics.
Media Commons has in its holdings a VHS and DVD copy of this film. Access may be limited due to COVID-19 restrictions at Robarts Library. Before contacting us, please check "COVID-19: Updates on library services & operations".
Harcourt, P. (1998). “Faces Changing Colour Changing Canon: Shifting Cultural Foci within Contemporary Canadian Cinema”. Cineaction, 2-9.
Kelly, B. (1995). “Film Reviews: CANNES - RUDE”. Variety, 359, 6. 39
Lebo, D. (1995). “Report from Toronto”. The Film Journal, Vol. 98, Iss. 9. 46.
McGregor, D.L. and Petty, S. (2011). “The ‘Hood’ Reconfigured: Black Masculinity in Rude”. In Making it like a man: Canadian masculinities in practice, ed. Ramsay, Christine. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. 133-148.
Walcott, R. (2000). "Rude: contemporary Black Canadian cultural criticism". Toronto, Insomniac Press.
Conquering Lion Pictures: https://www.conqueringlionpictures.com/rude
Canadian Film Centre: http://cfccreates.com/productions/33-rude
Clement Virgo: https://www.clementvirgo.com/rude
Globe and Mail: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/film/new-canadian-talent-shines-in-tiffs-discovery-program/article35920129/