AFP, published on Sunday, October 16, 2022 at 08:22
Can a song, no matter how iconic, illuminate an artist’s life? In theaters on Wednesday, “Hallelujah, the words of Leonard Cohen” offers an unprecedented dive into the intimacy of the Canadian musician who died in 2016, with, as a common thread, his song “Hallelujah”.
Signed by the American duo Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine – Ballets Russes” (2005), “Isadora Duncan” (1988) – this documentary, presented at the beginning of September at the Deauville American Film Festival, aims to “shed light on the highlights and the influences that nourished Leonard Cohen, to pierce his spirituality”, explained Dayna Goldfine to AFP, during an interview on the sidelines of the Norman festival.
This film is not a biopic about the creator of “Suzanne” nor is it a documentary about a song, “Hallelujah”. “What we tried to do was look at the life of Leonard Cohen through his most famous song,” said the filmmaker.
– Rare Archives –
A project that took more than eight years to materialize but which was done with the approval of the principal concerned. “It was important for us to have the tacit blessing of Leonard. Without that, we could not have made the film”, indicated Daniel Geller.
Very rich, it is filled with rare archives obtained from the family of the author, composer and performer. Among these treasures, a video of the young Leonard in full poetic reading or his first interviews.
More anecdotally, the film also gives pride of place to several “selfies” of the artist taken with his Polaroid camera. “He was someone who was ahead of his time, who took selfies in the 1970s,” assured Dayna Goldfine.
Above all, the directors had access to the personal notebooks of the poet and musician. “It took years to get them back,” she added. “It’s also proof of what Leonard has always said. That it took years to write this song, spread over five notebooks”.
Song which his record company, Columbia, did not want. It was only a few years later that Bob Dylan released her from anonymity, then John Cale (1991), before Jeff Buckley (1994).
– “Not a god” –
The documentary richness of the film is also nourished by first-hand testimonies, like that of Judy Collins, who gave him confidence to launch.
Like when he went on stage in 1967 to perform “Suzanne”. Terrified, he ends up abandoning her before being caught by Collins who encourages him to finish his performance.
According to the co-director of the film, Leonard Cohen was “a rather atypical performer, with an atypical voice. She was not a very + rock’n’ roll + personality… And I think she helped him a lot to overcome that”.
If the film meticulously explores the genesis and the revivals of “Hallelujah”, it also sheds light on the torments of the artist, his quest for spirituality, his depression – from which he suffered in silence for years – and the rejection he first aroused, painting a very human portrait of a man known for his immense career but who never ceased to doubt.
“Even before starting the project, I thought that Leonard Cohen was a god. (…) But, after having spent eight years scrutinizing his life, it became clear that he was a man and not a god. (…) A man who has done a real job on himself, every day of his life”, had confided Dayna Goldfine.
For Daniel Geller, the documentary is not so much a film about a man but a “journey through life. A journey that we all take”.
We want to thank the writer of this short article for this awesome web content
Cinema: “Hallelujah” in the footsteps of Leonard Cohen
You can view our social media profiles here , as well as other pages on related topics here.https://kjovi.com/related-pages/