Allan King, Dead at 79

In MemoriumAllan King was 79. He was the acclaimed Canadian documentarian who took viewers on a harrowing journey into a home for troubled children in "Warrendale" and trained his unflinching lens on a crumbling marriage in "A Married Couple."

I record The View From Here, a fantastic documentary series that airs on TVOntario. A recent doc that aired during this program struck such a chord in me I haven't been able to let it go. It was called "Dying At Grace" and it was an Allan King film.

As recently as yesterday I was telling my mom about "Dying At Grace", a film I urge you to see next time it's on television. It's about five patients dying in the Palliative Care Unit of the Salvation Army Toronto Grace Health Centre. We meet them, spend time with them and then we watch them die.

We literally watch them take their last breath. It's terribly chilling, totally effective, and in many ways, absolutely reassuring. A fantastic documentary form a fantastic filmmaker who will be missed.

Here's Allan King talking about making "Dying At Grace."

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Never heard of this cat. The only Allen King I know is the American comic. He may be dead already.

Notice no one has commented on him - who the hell is he (with all due respect)?

June 16, 2009 @ 10:18 AM

Toronto Mike

Dude, my wife and I were blown away by Dying at Grace and any doc fan knows about Warrendale and A Married Couple.

It's not my problem that the masses prefer I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here over TVO / CBCNewsworld / PBS aired documentaries.

If anyone out there has heard of Allan King, pipe up!

June 16, 2009 @ 10:25 AM


Mike: I hear ya but I'm afraid I'm stuck somewhere between the inane TV viewer who can't wait for their American Idol, Survivor, or Deal or No Deal fix and the city dweller and avid CBC radio listener who lines up for hours to check out some government sponsored doc that only plays at 2 pm on a Tuesday at the Toronto Film 'Fethstival' (deliberate misspelling on 'Festival').

June 16, 2009 @ 10:33 AM

Donna Vitan

You're right Mike, this documentary was well done, and almost impossible not to be moved by it. Allan King brought to light the care given to people near the end of their lives at the centre. The Toronto Grace Health Centre needs more visibility in order to continue their humanitarian services.

Allan King is an artist worth your respect.

June 16, 2009 @ 11:22 AM

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