RUDE is Clement Virgo's first feature following his successful short film (1993), which won prizes for Best Short Film at the 1993 Toronto and Chicago International Film Festivals. Save... also received a 1994 Genie nomination for Best Canadian Short Film.
Clement's previous short films are Split Second Pullout Technique (1992) and A Small Dick Fleshy Ass Thang (1991), which he wrote and co-directed with Virginia Rankin.
Clement came to Canada from Jamaica at the age of 11. He honed his visual sensibility during his five years working in the fashion industry as a window display artist. He was a resident in the inaugural 1991 Summer Lab at the Canadian Film Centre and returned in 1992 for a nine month residency. Clement is actively involved in the Toronto film community serving as a board member of Liaison of Independent Film and Television (LIFT) and the Black Film and Video Network.
"I came up with the structure of the film before I came up with the stories, back when I was still working as a window display artist. And then the first story that evolved was Maxine's -- she's a window display artist.
I knew that to get this film made in Canada, it would have to have elements that were easily recognizable, elements that people who invest hundreds of thousands of dollars would recognize as commercial elements. That meant the 'hood, guns, a little bit of drugs. I consciously drew on those things, but I knew I didn't want to add to the slew of urban 'hood movies. I knew I couldn't imitate Menace II Society or Boyz N The Hood; I don't know anything about that world.
One of the things I wanted to do, with the General's story, for instance, was to draw on these really straight, almost 1950's, rebel elements -- you know, the guy in the leather jacket who's cool and sensitive and misunderstood. I wanted to write something that had all those elements, but redo it in my own style. With the Maxine story I wanted a more European style, more of a meditation on character, sort of like Kieslowski's Blue. Slowly, as I came up with different story elements, different stylistic elements, my own vision came out of that. So from all of those elements, I created my own 'hood, the sort of 'hood where a lion could roam, where mystical aboriginal spirits could dance among urban, transported Africans."