Wayne Wapeemukwa directs a complex portrait of five Vancouverites living on the fringes of society during the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Nationalism gets a searing reality check in Wayne Wapeemukwa's uncompromising debut feature, Luk'Luk'I. Following the lives of five Vancouverites living on society's fringes during the 2010 Olympics, the film takes us into uncharted territory, falling somewhere between a fiction we need to see and a documentary we wish didn't exist.
Angel Gates (playing herself ) is a mother and part-time sex worker. Eric Buurman (playing himself ) is a father juggling his son and landscaping job with his heroin addiction. Angela "Roller Girl" Dawson (also playing herself ) is a larger-than-life street celebrity roller-skating around town and interacting with virtually all of Vancouver. Mark (Joe Dion Buffalo) has recurring visions of being taken away to another world. As with many in Mark's orbit, drugs continue to isolate him while doing the dirty job of pushing him further into a system that keeps him exactly there. And there's Ken (Ken Harrower), a disabled man just trying to make it on his own and get to the hockey finals. These vulnerable five — estranged from their families and often hounded by the cops and society at large — have created a community for themselves that stands in stark contrast to the glittering backdrop of the Olympics with its real and metaphorical gold medals.
Highly impactful in contrasting what a country chooses to believe in and how it acts in reality, the film is at once raw and polished, as complex and beautiful as the people it portrays. It's a cinematic punch in the gut and one of the most interestingly constructed films of the year.