Friday, July 20, 2007

Leonard Cohen: I'm your Man

Leonard Cohen: I'm your Man made me physically aware of the prescence of my heart. Ostensibly a biopic of The Man's life and his music, it is really a combination of golden moment from interviews with Leonard, interspersed with big name performers covering his songs. Said performers also occasionally give insights into the way He has influenced them and their music.

The performances shown are from a concert performed at the Sydney Opera House (would that I have known at the time) in 2005. The narrative of the movie loosely follows Cohen's life from early black and white footage of himself as a child, culminating in a wonderful performance of Tower of Song, the only performance expressly recorded for the documentary. Tower of Song is an apt closer, with its nod to old age: "well my friends are gone and my hair is grey, I ache in the places that I used to play". Bono is in the background here, but he just plays keys and support vocals so doesn't ruin it, tho his glasses remain ostentatious.

Particularly hilarious is Rufus Wainwright's account of his first encounter with LC in the kitchen in his underpants, regurgitating sausage for a baby bird.

Nick Cave tells the viewer about the first time he heard Cohen, and the sense of liberation and inspiration that grew from this newfound knowledge in a small Australian town.

In terms of performances, Antony's is the most touching, with his curious mix of talent and vulnerability. This performance follows Cohen's own account of the potential beauty of language, and the lyrics are fittingly poignant. Rufus Wainwright's performance is a close second best, particularly the cover of Chelsea Hotel No. 2.

Perhaps the beauty of the performances is best summed up by the satisfied moan emitted by the stranger at my elbow at the close of the best performances.

Interviews with Cohen are shown quite close, often cropping his forehead to maximise the impact of those deep eyes, full of intrinsic dignity. His deliciously deep spoken prose is as evocative and modest as his lyrics.

At 73 years old, its not likely that he will tour again, but by god if he does I'll do what I need to in order to be in his audience.

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