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Gordon Pinsent as Al Purdy on CBC

Posted: March 30, 2006


Yours, Al starring Canadian icon Gordon Pinsent, is an evocative film that captures, interprets and celebrates the life and work of one of Canada's most significant poets and literary geniuses Al Purdy (1918-2000). Actor Gordon Pinsent movingly captures the essence of the poet in this drama set in a metaphorical, abandoned house, which comes to life as Al returns to read, write and remember his favourite poems.
CBC Television, “Opening Night”, Thursday April 13, 8pm (local across Canada).

In one of his finest performances Gordon Pinsent, gives lifeblood to Al’s words as he steps in to the world of the roving poet who used his natural curiosity to explore people and places that affected him on a daily basis. Purdy wrote about what he knew: work, relationships and this vast country. He rode the rails, worked in factories, and sparred with his muse, all of which is reflected in his timeless poetry and prose and crafted beautifully in this film by director, Bill Spahic.

Bill commented, “Al was consumed about what is to be human; to love, to be humiliated, to be triumphant, to fail and that’s what I love about his poetry. He wrote about his inner self and in that process he wrote about all of us”.

Yours, Al captures the eloquence, humility and universality of Al Purdy, taking us through his life, pausing at all its high and low moments, and presents Purdy’s greatest poems, including The Country North of Belleville, At the Quinte Hotel, On Being Human and Necropsy of Love. Those who remember Al Purdy will revel in his words once again, and those new to his work will wonder why it has taken so long to discover him but all will agree that he was indeed ‘the people’s poet’ and ‘the voice of the land’.

Yours, Al by Real to Reel Productions Inc. is a non-chronological exploration of some of Purdy’s favourite themes: relationships and family, love and life, work and country written by acclaimed playwright Dave Carley and director Bill Spahic based on Purdy’s collected works.

Time and place are two important elements in Purdy's work, and they are equally reflected in the treatment of this film. We see and hear the words of Purdy through a first-person narrative that examines different segments of his life and how these parts are mirrored in his poetry. Throughout the film archival footage and photo stills are layered with dramatic visual interpretations and special effects to convey the depth and emotion of his work.

Above all, it is Pinsent’s riveting performance that pulls it all together.

Yours, Al has been described as "a gift", "an extraordinary performance, as though Al himself were on screen", "no better homage to a great poet".

Producer, Anne Pick struggled for six years to raise the modest budget, first pitching it as a documentary then as this drama. She says, “ The wait was worth it. As much as I would have been happy with a documentary I’m glad it turned out this way. We were able to bring so much more to the production creatively and Gordon is simply brilliant.”

Added Spahic, “And every single member of the production team entered in to the spirit of the project I think with the sense that in working with Purdy and Pinsent, we were dealing with two of Canada’s national treasures. It was more than just a job. We felt we were privileged.”

Reel to Reel Productions Public Relations Media contact:
Anne Pick
416 763 0001