The themes of sin and redemption are not coincidental in director Clement Virgo's film Rude (1995), containing 3 stories set over an Easter weekend. Young Black Torontonians living in a housing project move in the sphere of Rude, a pirate radio station's honey-voiced disc jockey who offers her own thoughts on the flux of life. Virgo's debut feature is ambitious: he tries to juggle the 3 stories simultaneously to create a coherent whole.
The most fully developed story is that of General (Maurice Dean Wint), who has just been released from prison after serving time for drug dealing and is trying to reconstruct his life and his marriage. The familial tension is underscored by the presence of his older, reprobate brother, Reece (Clark Johnson), who works for a psychotic White drug lord. The second story involves a young boxer (Richard Chevolleau) who is confronting his latent homosexuality even as several of his ring-mates involve him in some nasty gay-bashing and battery. The third concerns Maxine (Rachael Crawford), a window-display artist who has been dumped by an unseen boyfriend. While we can sense her despair, the context is not developed enough to provoke much compassion.
Virgo filmed the stories in 3 styles: General's story is told in traditional narrative form, while the boxer's tale is more kinetic and Maxine's is artistically European. Rude marked a breakthrough for African-Canadian filmmaking, as most of the cast and crew were Black, but the overall effect was disjointed and the film failed to connect with audiences.