Allan King 1930-2009

The filmmaker and documentary legend has succumbed to brain cancer...

Filmmaker and documentary legend Allan King has succumbed to brain cancer. He was 79.

King, a pioneer of the intimate cinéma verité movement, directed ground-breaking films such as Warrendale (1967), A Married Couple (1969), Dying at Grace (2003) and, his most recent completed work, EMPz 4 Life (2006), which follows the lives four young men from Toronto’s violent Malvern area.

King made more than 60 films in a career that spanned almost 50 years, beginning with his 1956 short for the CBC, Skid Row.

In a 2008 Playback profile, the Toronto filmmaker confessed to ulterior motives when it came to one of his biggest films. ‘The truth is I made Warrendale for selfish reasons,’ he said. ‘I wanted to understand issues around childhood. I come from a broken home. It took me 40 years to grow up enough to forgive my parents and realize that they were human and that they weren’t setting out to injure me. They did everything possible not to. But I was very angry, and that anger got in my way for much of my life.’

Inducted into Playback‘s Hall of Fame last year, King expressed appreciation for ‘being paid to explore themes — like adolescence and memory loss — that obsess me.’