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Legendary poet, singer/songwriter and alleged ladies man Leonard Cohen is interviewed in his L.A. home about his extraordinary life and times, interspersed with old footage from his private photo collection and lavish praise plus elaborately performed Cohen cover songs from a motley crew of colleague musicians, amongst whom Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Rufus & Martha Wainwright, Nick Cave, Jarvis Cocker and U2's Bono and The Edge. By way of dessert the latter two and their band mates even get to back up the man for a special performance of his own. Written by
Swie Tio <email@example.com>
[explaining his song, "The Traitor"]
It was about the feeling that we have of betraying some mission that we were mandated to fulfill, and being unable to fulfill it. And then coming to understand that the real mandate was not to fulfill it, and that the deeper courage, was to stand guiltless in the predicament in which you found yourself
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Performed by Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright, Kate & Anna McGarrigle
Written by Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson
Published by Universal-Geffen Music o/b/o Itself and Robinhill Music and Stranger Music Inc. (BMI) / Sony/ATV Songs LLC (BMI)
All rights on behalf of Stranger Music Inc. and Sony/ATV Songs LLC are administered by Sony/ATV Music Publishing,
8 Music Square West, Nashville, TN 37203 USA.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Rufus Wainwright performs courtesy of Geffen Records See more »
This film was a disaster from start to finish. Interspersed with performances from "the next generation of beautiful losers" are interviews with Bono and The Edge as well as the performers themselves. This leaves little time for the clips of Leonard Cohen himself, who towers over everyone else in the film with his commanding yet gentle presence, wisdom and humor. The rest are too busy trying to canonize him as St. Leonard or as some Old Testament prophet. Many of the performances are forgettable over-interpretations (especially Rufus & Martha Wainright's) or bland under-achievements. Only Beth Orton and Anthony got within striking distance of Leonard's own versions by using a little restraint. Annoying little pseudo-avant-garde gestures are sprinkled throughout the film- like out of focus superimpositions of red spheres over many of the concert and interview shots, shaky blurred camera work, use of digital delay on some of Leonard Cohen's comments (making it harder to hear what's being said) and a spooky, pretentious low drone under a lot of the interview segments (an attempt at added gravitas?). For the real thing, see the Songs From The Life Of documentary produced by the BBC in 1988.
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