Saturday, August 05, 2006

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"Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man"

Leonard Cohen, for those who don't know the name, is a poet/songwriter from Canada. His star first rose in the 1960s, and some of his songs have been extensively covered: most notably "Suzanne", "Bird on a Wire", and "Hallelujah".

And she feeds you tea and oranges
That come all the way from China
And just when you mean to tell her
That you have no love to give her
Then she gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer
That you've always been her lover

"Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man" is a documentary about Mr Cohen, directed by Lian Lunson as a mixture of discussions with Cohen himself, comments by others (such as Bono and The Edge, of U2, and Rufus Wainwright), and performances from a live concert in Sydney, a tribute to Leonard Cohen by Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Kate's children Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Nick Cave, and others.

The birds they sang at the break of day
Start again I heard them say
Don't dwell on what has passed away
Or what is yet to be.
Ah the wars they will be fought again
The holy dove she will be caught again
Bought and sold and bought again
The dove is never free.

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. But, then, I expected to. I love Leonard Cohen's songs, I love listening to what he has to say, and I love the music the McGarrigle/Wainwright family makes. It would have been surprising if this movie had disappointed me. The talk is interesting, especially that from Cohen (though Bono goes a little over the top in his praise, but, then, that's Bono), and the performances are all good. Rufus Wainwright's are particularly notable — he does a great version of "Hallelujah" near the end, and a truly wonderful arrangement of "Everybody Knows" early in the film.

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich, that's how it goes
Everybody knows

The only disappointing aspect for me was that there weren't more Cohen songs in it. I wanted to hear "The Future", "Democracy", and "Closing Time", none of which appeared (though Bono mentioned the first two as favourites of his also). Also missing was my very favourite, "Dance Me to the End of Love":

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic 'til I'm gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love

If you like Leonard Cohen, go see this movie.

1 comment:

The Ridger said...

I like Leonard Cohen. And a friend of mine turned me on to Rufus Wainwright. I will definitely see this. Thanks!