Through fugue states: Zachari Proulx’s Fugacis at the Metro Cinema
By Ben Hollihan
Fugacis, Zachari Proulx’s debut feature film, premiered at Metro Cinema on Jan. 30. And it was wild. The Edmonton-born filmmaker, who directed, wrote, and edited the piece, has created a film that is equal parts Donnie Darko, Pineapple Express, and Videodrome. As the lights went down, Proulx’s production launched into an otherworldly mindscape with the profound statement: “Let’s get trippy.”
The dark comedy depicts two young acid dealers, Rimon (Tom Tunski) and Darrien (David Madawo), on a hallucinogenic search for the penultimate psychedelic drug, Opus, while they navigate cyclical timelines, ruinous romances, and the dark sides of their psyche. Opus and its hilarious dealer Fuggy, played by Proulx, reveal the ‘Truth.’ This ‘Truth’ follows the Nietzschean concept of destroying illusions and the characters’ egos along with it.
The metaphysical film often morphs into an art piece that favours the abstract over the narrative, particularly during scenes that feature Rimon’s love interest, Damean, played by Cassie Hyman. The two characters spend the film rescuing each other from personal lysergic demons: The first time they interact, Rimon must pull Damean out of a grave.
The film is encapsulated in an ouroboros; events occur simultaneously, but the characters’ chronologies are linear, causing a mind-warping effect on the film’s narrative. Proulx uses these voyeuristic moments where the characters are watching themselves to stress the inevitability of narrative, dashing out any concept of free will the film is paradoxically implied to have.
One of the film’s standouts is the soundtrack by sid the squirrel, an otherworldly soundscape rife with horrific intensity. This distorted soundtrack creates an atmosphere that allows Fugacis to thrive, causing a sonic effect akin to the movie’s striking visuals.
Proulx’s long time love of mind-alteration initially inspired the piece.
“It’s based on experiences with … psychedelics and the meaning of life,” Proulx says, who, along with the rest of the cast and crew, donated countless hours to the production.
Drugs and film have always gone hand in hand for Proulx. The first time he took LSD, he watched The Big Lebowski.
“I just remember becoming conscious of Steve Buscemi’s face,” Proulx says when asked about the experience.
But Proulx intends for Fugacis to be something more than a film to watch while tripping out. He aims to change lives and perspectives with the piece.
“If you’ve ever done something that’s changed your life, one of the first things you want to do is share it with people.”
Fugacis’ themes of seeking out the truth above all else have always been present in Proulx’s life. The director was accepted into a Toronto film school but dropped out due to a fundamental clash with the school’s values.
“They were more about pushing their own agenda … They wanted stuff on topical issues,” Proulx says, whereas he prefers to create movies that he feels he can give “a soul” to.
Above all, Proulx hopes this film will encourage others in his life to take a chance on something.
“Having a dream … It’s inspiring to other people. Why limit yourself? Why not see what will happen?” Proulx says,