I am starting a new segment today on Chef's Widow called Friday Film Feature. The Chef & I watch so many films together so I thought I would do something with that.
When the chef & I started dating in high school, our love of films (and weed) is really what brought us together. I remember going to Blockbuster at 15 with him and picking out the craziest most avant garde film we could find. Back then we were way more adventurous in our taste, although some of the movies we professed our love for were really cheese.
Now we have become horror guru's. We have become obsessed with gore and campy violence. Although the film I am recommending today is definitely not in that genre.
Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man
First of all, this documentary focuses on a concert that was a tribute to Leonard Cohen, an artist and a poet that has been influential to countless others. This Sidney concert gathered a lot of talent that came together to celebrate his music. Lian Lunson, an Australian director, has taken the best tracks of the historical presentation that mixes well with the man it's paying homage to. Let the viewer be clear that for a better picture of who this man is and what he has done in his life, it will not be found in this movie. For that, anyone interested in Cohen's life must go somewhere else because of the limitations this medium had.
The life of Leonard Cohen is examined briefly as an on camera interview with him at his Los Angeles home. Several biographical bits of information are revealed during that conversation, but of course, it only covers the highlights of his life in sketchy details. One gets to know, for instance, about his early life in Montreal. The death of the father when Cohen was nine. His New York stay, at the legendary Chelsea Hotel, home of the cool people that influenced a whole generation. Then one learns about Mr. Cohen's introduction to Zen Buddhism and his becoming a monk.
A curious note arises from the lips of Leonard Cohen's lips about being a notorious ladies' man, something he was always notorious for, and yet, how far from the truth it was. There is also a moment in which the poet reads for our benefit the introduction he prepared for one of his books being translated into Chinese, a culture that always fascinated him.
The concert itself is an excellent way to hear Leonard Cohen's songs as others interpret them. Rufus Wainwright sings three numbers to great effect. Antony makes a poignant appearance belting "If It Be Your Will", all tics and mannerisms, yet making the song seem new. Nick Cave has also two good moments interpreting "I'm Your Man", and "Suzanne", two of the songs closely associated with Mr. Cohen. Perla Batalla and Julie Christensen who back up most of the songs, are perfect in "Anthem". Martha Wainwright's take on "The Traitor" has a different edge when she sings it, yet it's one of the highlights of the evening.
The best is left for last. Bono, and Edge, who have been praising Mr. Cohen throughout the film come together to back him as he sings his "Tower of Song" in his own inimitable style. It shows a lot of generosity on his part leaving his own material to be reexamined by a younger generation that clearly loves him.
Lian Lunson shows she had the right idea in how to bring the concert into a movie that gives relevance to a man that had it all, Leonard Cohen.