Volume 92, Issue 39
Thursday, November 12, 1998
not too late to reconsider football too
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
David Clark features Demon
Photo by Judy Cheung
By Mark Lewandowski
The struggle of the aspiring filmmaker is never a road without hurdles. Obstacles which Western's multi media and graphic design professor David Clark has conquered with his feature-length debut Maxwell's Demon. Hopefully this 85-minute film will satiate the appetites of his rapidly expanding fanbase.
"I've been working on the film so long that eventually people just said, 'yeah sure you're making a film,'" Clark jokes. Currently working in Halifax as a visiting professor, Clark debuted the 16mm feature to a receptive audience on Sept. 25 at the Atlantic Film Festival. The film was subsequently presented at the London Art and History Museum last Friday.
"It's a film noir screwball tragedy. You have a detective with a fedora and a femme fatale," Clark describes. The film is noir stylistically but very twisted thematically. It's like Kids in the Hall doing La Jetee. Modelled loosely on the Oedipus myth, the narrative pays little heed to conventional space or time.
The story opens simply with a meeting between detective Dick Valard and pregnant femme Helvetica Bold. She is in search of her sperm donor and Dick takes the job. He starts by checking out her overdrawn account at the sperm bank. Yes, the film is loaded with tongue-in-cheek humour.
The search leads him to Maxwell, hired goons and Rosetta Stone, a sperm bank operator who is using Maxwell as the subject of her strange projects. Maxwell is Helvetica's donour but also her future son. The consummate self-made man is his own father. The elusive plot is controlled by a time distorting computer referred to as Humpty Dumpty, while the Calgary Tower serve as a temporal and sexual point of intersection. It is also the only thing linear in this black and white sleuth story.
"Every time you show [the film] people laugh at different parts," Clark quips. Laughs in Maxwell's Demon come from a densely satirical script, also written by Clark with an audio/visual dart board of nods to cinematic classics like Blue Velvet and 8 1/2. "This is a real attempt to make a feature film and it has its stranger moments," Clark explains.
The film was aided by Western music student Jeff Toyne, who took on the task of scoring the picture as a graduate project. Clark is not afraid to give credit where it is due. "The score totally changed the whole film."
Toyne's musical accompaniment advances the witticisms presented by Clark and complete the film's light-hearted atmosphere. Incorporating facilities in Clark's hometown of Calgary and his current post Halifax, the picture is as much Clark as it is Canadian.
Completing a feature-length film with a free schedule is a monumental task, moreso for a full-time professor making Clark's accomplishment all the more impressive.
"Just go and make it! If you're a filmmaker you have to go out and make your film," says Clark, to aspiring filmmakers. Clark will spend the next few weeks teaching in Halifax, while entering his Demon into various upcoming festivals.
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