Allan King (Canadian, b. 1930) has made some of cinema’s most moving and humane documentaries—including Warrendale (1966), A Married Couple (1969), and Dying at Grace (2003)—and his influence on nonfiction filmmaking has been profound. The pioneering accomplishments of this Canadian filmmaker, whom Jean Renoir called “a great artist,” deserve to be better known in the U.S. Very much a working filmmaker, King has completed three features over the past four years, including his most recent, Empz 4 Life (2006), a documentary about at-risk youths in the suburbs of Toronto. King, who developed the use of direct interview in television documentary in the mid-1950s, has perfected a style, at once straightforward and nuanced, that allows his subjects, buffeted and strengthened by life’s natural stresses and challenges, to retain their dignity while revealing their pain, confusion, and joys. The Department of Film celebrates King’s 50-year career with a comprehensive retrospective of both his documentary and fiction work, culminating in a weeklong run of Dying at Grace, King’s quiet observation about the end of life.
Organized by Laurence Kardish, Senior Curator, Department of Film, with the support of Telefilm Canada and the Canadian Consulate General in New York.