CFUV @ VFF: Al Purdy Was Here

Written by on 02/08/2016


My grandmother used to say, you don’t have to be crazy but it helps. Brian D Johnson’s inspiring documentary is awash with the sort of crazy that makes for sublime art. The restoration of the Purdy A Frame house, with gym floor ceilings, box car walls and flood jammed crawl space, is a metaphor for the poet himself. But even the most careful restoration cannot fix foundations fault. Surely, art can be made without the yawning privilege of a man present on the page but absent from his family, even if he was an outhouse away. The soundtrack alone is worth the viewing with original songs by Bruce Cockburn, Sarah Harmer and a quixotic take on Purdy’s Say The Names by Joseph Boyden and Tanya Tagaq. My kinda crazy.

-Troy Sebastian

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