Vancouver premiere of Al Purdy documentary

Former Maclean’s magazine film critic Brian D. Johnson’s first feature-length documentary, Al Purdy Was Here, is a knockout portrait of rabble-rousing, much-loved Canadian poet Al Purdy.

Johnson’s affectionate, artful portrait of this complex, charismatic, often contradictory figure includes great archival footage of Purdy in his prime; reminiscences and/or performances by, among others, Margaret Atwood, George Bowering, Joseph Boyden, Leonard Cohen, Michael Ondaatje, Gordon Pinsent, and Tanya Tagaq; and an account of the campaign to preserve, as a writers’ retreat, Purdy’s A-frame cabin in Prince Edward County, Ontario, once a mecca for many of Canada’s literary pioneers.

The film will premiere at The Cinematheque with three screenings on January 28, 31, and February 3.