<img class="alignleft size-full wp-image-615" src="http://www.nosfa.ca/wp-content/uploads/Al-Purdy-Was-Here.jpg" alt="Al-Purdy-Was-Here" width="487" height="720" srcset="http://www.nosfa.ca/wp-content/uploads/Al-Purdy-Was-Here.jpg 487w, http://www.nosfa.ca/wp-content/uploads/Al-Purdy-Was-Here-203×300 donde comprar viagra por internet.jpg 203w” sizes=”(max-width: 487px) 100vw, 487px” />April 3, 2016
Director: Brian D. Johnson
Featuring: Gordon Pinsent, Leonard Cohen, Margaret Atwood
Runtime: 90 minutes
Toronto International Film Festival: Audience Choice Award, 3rd Place
“Canada’s greatest poet receives a warm and eminently watchable tribute from critic turned filmmaker Brian D. Johnson.”—Adrian Mack, Georgia Straight
A film about a Canadian poet sounds like the compulsory snoozy Can-con stuff endured by bored high school students. However, retired Maclean’s film critic Brian
D. Johnson deftly brings to life the career of award-winning Al Purdy, a two-fisted, eccentric artist, juxtaposing illuminating interviews with some of Purdy’s literary contemporaries and inspired performances by musical artists who were influenced by him. What emerges is a thoroughly entertaining portrait of a great Canadian icon.
The film benefits immeasurably from archival footage of Purdy himself, a colourful figure with tousled hair, often dressed a rumpled, loud clothing. His rumbling baritone with colourful phraseology comes to the fore in TV interviews with Adrienne Clarkson and William F. Buckley. An intimate sit-down with Purdy’s 90-year-old widow, Eurithe, is also fascinating for what she grudgingly reveals and not to reveal about Al, including some dark areas in their past.
Johnson knits together many interesting components that serves the subject: a tour of Purdy’s celebrated A-frame home, once a gathering place for writers of his day, now functions as a retreat for budding writers; interviews with the likes of Margaret Atwood (who recalls Purdy peeing on her car); readings by novelist Joseph Boyden, and performances by Leonard Cohen, Sarah Harmer, Gord Downie, and Bruce Cockburn. These elements combine to make Al Purdy Was Here an enjoyable celebration of Canadiana.