TIFF ’15 Review: ‘Al Purdy Was Here’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, TIFF 2015 by - September 08, 2015
TIFF ’15 Review: ‘Al Purdy Was Here’

Al Purdy Was Here

Tiff Docs

Al Purdy Was Here is a fascinating little look at just what might be one of the most culturally important Canadians…that most of us have never heard of, as our collective Canadiana gets an education.

A tribute to the late great poet Al Purdy who managed to be equal parts rock star, raconteur and all around rabble rouser as he came up during a time in the 1960’s with the likes of Leonard Cohen, Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje.  He stood out with his ability to spurn the tired and a-typical stories of Canadian life and gave our national voice a distinct and very different voice.

While admittedly stumbling out of the gates, Al Purdy Was Here ramps into a fascinating portrait of a man that we all would have liked to have had a beer with at one stage in another in our lives and who has influenced some of our countries most prolific artists.

Director Brian D. Johnson’s debut feature effort keeps a gentle balance between the necessary historical data and the wryly entertaining anecdotes that made up the life which made him such a unique cultural icon.  Johnson allows his friends and most importantly his own words tell the story of a man who should be mentioned in the same breath as the likes of some of our countries best.

Ultimately, Al Purdy Was Here serves as a fantastic reminder of what richly layered stories we have in our country and often take for granted.

Show times

Tues, Sept 15th at 7PM at the TIFF Bell Lightbox

Thurs Sept 17th at 4:45 PM at the Isabel Bader Theatre

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.