LEONARD COHEN: I'M YOUR MAN
Musician and poet Leonard Cohen was born in Montreal in 1934, and burst onto the scene in 1967, inspiring generations with his unique personality and haunting music. Director Lian Lunson celebrates Cohen's legacy with an intimate documentary showcasing his music, poetry and life and featuring performances by some of the musicians whose lives he has influenced, including U2, Nick Cave, Rufus Wainright, Teddy Thompson, Martha Wainwright, Kate and Anna McGarrigle.
Review by Louise Keller:
Leonard Cohen is an acquired taste. Whether your appetite for this artist with the gravely voice that reverberates and resonates like an echo from the subway has already been whetted, or if you are about to discover his unique style. Unlike a traditional musical documentary, Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man delves into the philosophy of the man, the poet, the artist and the musician. Fans of his poetry-like songs whose lyrics conjure imagery of his thoughts and experiences, will revel in this emotion and music-filled documentary tribute. But it may not be for everyone. The unconverted may wonder what the fuss is about as songs performed by artists who are dedicated Cohen fans, are separated by sketches, poetry, interviews and a conversation with the man himself.
There's a hypnotic quality to the music of Leonard Cohen. The music with its repetitive phrases seems to plead with us to listen to the lyrics. Songs like Hallelujah, The Traitor, Sisters of Mercy, A Thousand Kisses Deep and the title song, I'm Your Man, in which the lyrics offer an unconditional promise. Recorded at the Sydney Opera House in January 2005, the Cohen songs are performed by artists including Nick Cave, U2, Beth Orton, Antony and Rufus Wainwright, the latter presenting a moving rendition of Chelsea Hotel #2 and Everybody Knows. But it is between each song that we learn most about Cohen. He started writing aged 9 after his father died, never sure of his own talents, and often insecure of his husky singing voice. His never conventional lifestyle (he was ordained as a monk by a Yoda-like Japanese Zen master called Roshi) is part of his mystique, which of course is reflected in his music.
Produced by Mel Gibson and Bruce Davey and Lian Lunson who directed the film, Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man is moody and arty. There are shadows, black and white photographs, poetry on display. As he nears 70, Cohen says 'The idea of going on the road again is becoming more and more attractive to me.... as we drink.' And then we hear the man himself singing at New York's Slipper Room with Bono and U2. 'I was born like this, I had no choice I was born with the gift of a golden voice..' he croons the lyrics of Tower of Song. As Bono says, Cohen finds shades in the blackness.
Email this article
LEONARD COHEN: I'M YOUR MAN (G)
CAST: Documentary with Perla Batalla, Bono, Robert Burger, Nick Cave, Julie Christensen, Adam Clayton, Jarvis Cocker, Leonard Cohen
PRODUCER: Mel Gibson, Lian Lunson, Bruce Davey
DIRECTOR: Lian Lunson
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Geoffrey Hall, Lian Lunson, Brit Marling, John Pirozzi
EDITOR: Mike Cahill
MUSIC: Leonard Cohen
PRODUCTION DESIGN: n/a
RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Vic/WA: February 1, 2007; NSW: February 2, 2007