Beauty Day
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Beauty Day

Jay Cheel (Canada, Canadian Spectrum)

Friday, April 29, 6:45 p.m.
Isabel Bader Theatre (93 Charles Street West)
Saturday, May 7, 4:15 p.m.
Isabel Bader Theatre (93 Charles Street West)

Though the buzz around this film is “that Canadian dude who was doing crazy stunts before Jackass,” Beauty Day is less about eating dog hair pie and rooftop tobogganing than it is about a passion for filmmaking and the matter of what makes life worth living. Centred around St. Catharines’ own Ralph Zavadil—better known as Cap’n Video from his cable TV show in the ’90s—Beauty Day weaves interviews with Zavadil, family members, and friends, with home videos and clips form the Cap’n Video Show, creating a surreal portrait of a man who is out of tune with our reality, but perfectly in tune with his own.
Zavadil rose (or rather fell) to fame when his final stunt for the Cap’n Video Show went terribly wrong. Attempting to jump into his parent’s pool from two stories up, he lost he footing and fell head first onto the pool deck. The entire stunt, from the neck-breaking landing, to his neighbours panicked cries and the arrival of the EMS team, is captured on video. Shot before going viral was a possibility, the video did the next best thing: it got picked up by American network television. Though this video was the “highlight” of Zavadil’s career, spring-boarding him to cult celebrity status, Beauty Day picks up a decade on.
The film captures the trajectory of Zavadil’s life, reflecting his highs and lows in its pacing. As Zavadil energetically reminisces about creating and shooting Cap’n Video, the film’s score and pacing picks up. It slows, almost lyrically, evolving into a touching love story when he talks of travelling across the country with his girlfriend Nancy, acting as manger for her budding motorcycle-racing career. Ten years on, without Cap’n Video the film becomes slightly lost, just as Zavadil is, drifting from one subject to the next. It’s not until Zavadil and his best friend decide to revive Cap’n Video that the film finds it’s footing again, like Zavadil.
If you’re looking for Jackass 3D, you’ll be entirely disappointed. If you’re looking for a reflection on film, what drives us to pursue our passions, and live life to the fullest—you’re in luck.