Christian hardcore punks feel the spirit.
CHRISTCORE (Justin Ludwig). See listing. Rating: NNNN
Jesus was the original punk. Think about it: what's more hardcore than willingly getting yourself crucified?
In ChristCORE, Saskatchewan punk-rocker-cum-filmmaker Justin Ludwig drives deep into the American South to explore the subculture of Christian hardcore punk. A self-described atheist, hedonist and heretic, Ludwig could easily scoff at all the evangelical screamo kids and heavily inked-up ministers. But instead he stays close to punk's core value of healthy skepticism, eager to challenge his own assumptions.
Still, as he tours with Christian hardcore up-and-comers Messengers and established act Sleeping Giant, Ludwig doesn't just lap up all the aggro feel-goodery. When some bands begin administering faith healing to injured fans - like punk Pat Robertsons - he has no problem airing his grievances over Christianity's more delusional and destructive tendencies. In one scene, the wife of an overweight singer professes that God will find a plan for them even if the U.S. health care system won't - the kind of hardened naïveté that keeps that dysfunctional system in place.
This balance of acceptance and incredulity distinguishes ChristCORE. The film may be rightfully critical of Christianity but rarely exhibits contempt for the well-meaning Christians practising it, and Ludwig keeps his more snarling, disdainful impulses firmly in check.
Opens Saturday (May 4) at the Royal. Weekend screenings include director Q&A. See listing.