Thursday, May 26, 2005

Two Canadian Films by Lezah

Neither of these films are new - I saw both of them on television, although they have also been playing in theatres again recently, one here and the other in Europe.  Other than having that in common, they are also Canadian productions.
The first is David Vaisbord's 2004 documentary 'Drawing Out the Demons:  A Film About the Artist Attila Richard Lukacs'.  Now, in case you aren't familiar with the artist, Attila Richard Lukacs is a graduate of Emily Carr College of Art & Design (so, coincidentally, is Vaisbord); in the mid '80s Lukacs exploded into the Vancouver art scene with his paintings depicting homoerotic images, and then went off to Germany where he continued to do well.  This film, however, does not follow his stratospheric rise; rather, we see Lukacs leaving New York after an unsuccessful stint there.

According to Lukacs's father (his parents figure prominently in this film, providing an impressive contrast between the hedonism of the artist and the unconditional love and support returned by his parents), part of the problem was timing:  New York at the time was embracing photography as its chosen art form,while Lukacs is a painter.  However, Lukacs' subject matter is not for all tastes either; he specializes in homoerotic images, and the Francis Bacon-like images and hints of imminent violence that emanate from his pieces are  an acquired taste. Further complicating the situation is the depiction of Lukacs's fight with various addictions which he is engaged in during the filming, most notably his spiral down into a crystal meth-induced hell.

A tortured soul, Lukacs act the enfant terrible while in New York; chaos is the overarching theme of his life. But throughout it, two things come through - the love and support of his family, and his undeniable talent.  If you can get past the subject matter, it's the painterly quality of his images that is just so outstanding. The film follows him over five years as he works toward a healing of sorts; by the film's end, he is improved but his future is still not assured.

The second film is Michael Dowse's ''Fubar', an official selection at Sundance Film Festival (2002) which is currently doing the rounds of theatres in London.  Billed as a comedy and filmed as a mockumentary, I would be inclined to label it more as a satire.  This film satirizes the whole headbanger subculture and owes much to both SCTV's Bob and Doug Mackenzie and 'This is Spinal Tap'.

The premise is that Farrell, a 'documentarian' , is making a documentary of the classic headbanger lifestyle, and so follows two boyhood friends around to document their mullet-obsessed lifestyle.  There are some surprising developments throughout the show, but primarily the activities circle around the beer, beer and more beer that the two guys consume, ad infinitum.

This film would have probably been more effective if it hadn't opened with the declaimer that it is a piece of fiction.  But it is a very accurate depiction of the lifestyle:  my cousin from the Interior could easily have starred in this film.
The book 'Just Giver:  A Handguide - The Ultimate Guide to Life, Love and the Pursuit of Givin' 'er' by Terry and Dean, is available on their website (  Here is a quote:

        ”Grow a mane like a lion, in the footsteps of your brothers and couzins (sic) and all the rockers before don't cost a penny to grow your hair long and walk like a man.  Long hair automatically tells people that you mean business, especially when you're ten years old."

I'm sure you know the type.  I sure do - much to my chagrin...

No comments: