1 min


Drawing Out The Demons: A Film About The Artist Attila Richard Lukacs is David Vaisbord’s documentary on one of Canada’s most fascinating and talented artists and his struggle with crystal meth addiction.

Poorly shot with a hand-held video camera, this mediocre effort is in some ways a very typical recovery film that shows Lukacs at his worst, nosediving into “failure.” His downfall is his perception of not “conquering” New York. But he never needed to. Past works, paintings portraying homoeroticized skinheads, neo-Nazis and US military men, have sold at up to $150,000 in Germany, Canada and internationally – sans New York. Astonishingly, on crystal he still manages to produce a new gorgeous painting exhibition for a small New York gallery.

Genuine sympathy is created for Lukacs’ parents in the film, as they take care of this creative-monster-adult-child through their loyal, loving, supportive and nutty ways. Critics have called him a “bad boy,” but this film puts things into perspective, he is an adult spoiled brat. Demons also illustrates Lukacs’ need to go through this enormous “failure” and addiction in order to get his poop in a group. Fortunately his parents tucked away emergency money.

This dough sent Lukacs to Hawaii for a recovery program – like a modern day Gaugin in Tahiti. Yet Lukacs’ Hawaii art never reflects the lush islands, the blue oceans nor even the sexy surfer boys. His hard-assed painting style seems impervious to location. He does kick the crystal in Hawaii with the aid of an independent therapist and Lukacs’ quotes in these segments seem like they are coming out of the mouth of a slatternly teenager.

Despite some intriguing moments Drawing Out The Demons feels, at its worst, like a promotional video intended to recover the artist’s career. By the end, at his “triumphant” Vancouver comeback, we wish that Lukacs would return to his old crazy, fascinating, drugged-out, selfish and bitchy persona because it is more engaging, entertaining, gritty and real.

The world premiere of Drawing Out The Demons is at 9pm on Fri, Apr 30 at the Royal with Vaisbord and Lukacs in attendance.