Crime Wave

Director: John Paizs
Screenwriters: John Paizs

Institute History

  • 1987 Sundance Film Festival


Crime Wave is a true original, an often hilarious, consciously naive comedy that plays off Canada’s continual fascination with American cultural forms. Made by Winnepeger John Paizs, who brings an unblinking eye to bear on the subject of his satire, the film marks out new territory for Canadian film. Dave Kehr described it in Film Comment as “an audacious experiment in new wave humor shot in seamless, deadpan imitation of the television shows and educational film of the fifties.”

The film centers around an awkward loner )played by Paizs himself) who turns out bizarre scenarios for color crime movies. Steve wants to turn on the best color movie ever, but he has a problem, he can only write beginnings and ends to his scripts. No middles! Living above a family garage in suburbia and befriended by the landlord’s ten-year-old daughter, we see excerpts from a number of Steve’s scripts, zany ideas based on get-rich-quick schemes. Finally frustrated by his creative block, he sets out for Kansas to meet Dr. Jolly, the script doctor.

— Piers Handling

Screening Details

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