The film opens with a blurring image of something that appears like a Flag, in the background is the euphoric sound of a crowd making the quintessential game noise. The year is 2010, It’s the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. The country seems to be in a triumphant trance because of the games. Cut to Next scene, we see poorly lit buildings, the unnervingly silent city, the euphoria is nowhere to be heard or seen. Inside these buildings, live people with unfulfilled life, people who couldn’t manage to build a family despite all their efforts, people who turned to drugs to comfort themselves. Wayne Wapeemukwa’s Luk’Luk’I is a film about this other contrasting society nobody cares to talk about in a country that is, otherwise, generalized as a success story on the world map.
Set against the backdrop of the international sporting event, Luk Luk’I is an unsettling docu-drama, portraying the lives of 5 local residents, living their life on the edge, scarred with the pain of being estranged from their family and finding solace in substance abuse. It’s a gutsy film, focusing on the outcasts of the society during the time the country is going through an overwhelmingly high dose of nationalism resulting in a societal conglomeration.
With a run time of 90 minutes and five intertwined stories running simultaneously, there was lot going on in Luk Luk’I. The film has an air of grief spread equally among each of these characters. There is the desperation of a junkie father (Eric Buurman) who is excited and anxious about meeting his 20-year-old son for the first time, a mother (Angel Gates), who is also a sex worker, grieves as she longs for her children but can’t really be with them, a handicapped old man (Ken Harrower) craves for companionship and is willing to go beyond his abilities to make a friend, a delusional woman (Angela Dawson) who is in constant denial about her reality and claims that she is a roller skate celebrity and a hallucinating junkie Mark ( played by Joe Buffalo) who sees and believes that a UFO is going to take him with it to another world.
The one thing that connects these characters in Luk’Luk’I is their unfulfilled life. The complete absence of loved ones is what accounts for their constant pain. They are longing for love and family and friendship and acceptance, their status as misfits of a society has no glory, these people want to have what they claim are theirs; children, family, love, fame and most importantly recognition.