1/01/2007

Your Man, Leonard

I just watched I'm Your Man, the Leonard Cohen documentary based on reviews by Mellowlee and Barbara (if my memory hasn't fully deserted me).

The film, now on dvd, features artists performing Leonard Cohen's songs at a 2005 concert and intercut are their comments, anecdotes and also interviews with the man himself. There's a bit of clunky editing and foreshadowing of a particular performance but that doesn't dilute the overall enjoyment.

The stand outs for me were Martha Wainwright, Teddy Thompson, Antony, Nick Cave and Beth Orton and also excellent were Rufus Wainwright, Jarvis Cocker and several other of the performances. The reverence and joy shine through even if several people rely heavily on lyric sheets. The musicians, including Chris Spedding, are all in fine form and provide tight backing.

Leonard Cohen describes himself as someone with no time for 'regrets and self congratulations' but goes on to provide examples of each proving ultimately that he's as human and contradictory as the next soul. To hear him provide perspective on the work of his work, his journeys through life and the need to sometimes abandon your masterpiece to sink into the real masterpiece is inspiring and provides me hope that age may yet bring me wisdom and not just forgetfulness.

Although the film is an incomplete portrait of a man and artist, it manages to be deeply satisfying and makes you want to know more.

4 out of 5 famous blue raincoats.


Blog Post Extra Features:

Bono, is his wraparound flystrip glasses, pronounces the word chasm as chas-zum rather than ka-zm. He may not be sitting at the right hand of Oprah for much longer with language like that!

By the second song in, I'd gone to iTunes and bought the soundtrack. Like many other things, it's magically delicious, extra tracks and all.

32 comments:

mellowlee said...

Oh YAY, you watched it! It was marvelous wasn't it. I really enjoyed your review of it. It really does make me want to know more. I think one of my favorite performances was the one by Antony. The Bono comment really made me smile! Happy 2007 Dale!!

A. Estella Sassypants said...

I have a $25 iTunes gift card and no idea what to buy. I was thinking something of Pete Yorn's perhaps. What say you? Any opinions?

Dale said...

It was great Mel. Antony was fantastic! Who the hell is he anyway? I loved ANTHEM too by the two women - Julie Christensen & Perla Batalla and Teddy Thompson, hell, it was all pretty great.

Hmm, Andi, I dunno. How about the soundtrack to I'm Your Man since you're here commenting on it? haha. Pete's pretty good and I have a couple of his songs from musicforthemorningafter that are decent.

Hmm, Poe's cd Haunted is one I recommend everyone buy and it'll stay with you for life. Jenny Lewis? Amos Lee? Preview some of that schtuff and get all sassypants on it.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You reviewed it so much more eloquently than I did. I think I just said something like, "I'm glad they did this before he died" or something equally lame.

You cannot beat Rufus singing Chelsea Hotel imho.

Antony btw was from Antony and the Johnsons who won Britain's Mercury Prize a couple of years ago and promptly disappeared. I think he does a drag show in NY now.

Dale said...

Thanks Barbara. Are you saying your eloquence is understated? Haha. Rufus does do a great job on Chelsea Hotel but the song made me sad hearing who/what it was about.

I had looked up Antony and it came up with & The Imperials and I was still no wiser. That's why you're going to be such a great addition to Will & Ben's Record Room! I bet Antony does a mean Mama Cass! His singing was wonderful though, put me in mind of Jeff Buckley.

mellowlee said...

Dale I'd never seen Antony before. Did you find his mouth a little distracting? I did. Do you sense some googling about to happen? brb.....
Aha! check this out

Yes, I was going to add another comment saying maybe I liked Rufus' version of Chelsea Hotel too, and it was very sad, but beautiful!!

Writeprocrastinator said...

Everybody knows that Dale lives up North
And that he should get a Juno for his blog...


Did they have Johnette Napolitano's version of "Everybody Knows?"

Hey, have a Happy New Year and check out Nick Cave's directorial debut, "The Proposition." Great performances by Guy Pearce and Angelica Huston's little brother, Danny.

A. Estella Sassypants said...

Sadly, I know less than nothing about Leonard Cohen. Perhaps I'll do a bit of homework.

Johnny Yen said...

I've got the movie on my Netflix queue. I'm a longtime huge, huge Leonard Cohen song. My friend Tasneem always used to make me play guitar and sing "Suzanne."

Other favorites: Chelsea Hotel, The Bells, The Partisan, Love Calls You By Your Name.

There have been a couple of good tribute albums. I like Lloyd Cole's cover of Chelsea Hotel.

Old Lady said...

So, I watched this movie over the weekend 'The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things'

Hmmm! What does that have to do with Cohen's movie? Not a damn thing! Wondering if you saw or read this.

Johnny Yen said...

Doh! That was supposed to say "longtime huge, huge Leonard Cohen FAN"

My friend Viktor Zeitgeist and I have had a more-than-decade-long discussion of the meaning of "First We Take Manhattan."

Did the movie feature Jennifer Warnes at all? She's his long-time back-up singer and friend who actually did an album of Leonard Cohen covers in the late eighties. She had a cover of First We Take Manhattan that featured Stevie Ray Vaughn on guitar.

She's probably best-known for her duet with Joe Cocker on "Up Where We Belong," the theme song from An Officer and a Gentleman.

Chancelucky said...

This is embarrassing, but I first discovered Leonard Cohen through Jennifer Warnes , Famous Blue Raincoat album. It was sort of a favorite of audiophile types for many years and it was several listens before I even took much of an interest in who wrote the songs on the album.

Tumuli said...

Sadly, I am only unfamiliar with "Famous Blue Raincoat," which adds a subtle sadness to at least one of my many mix compilations.

Having heard such acclaim about his work, I should seek more of him...

Dale said...

Mel, thanks for the links and the email. I didn't find his mouth too distracting but I will when I watch it again. I got the feeling he might bolt the stage though at any second. I think maybe Antony's had some stress lately or something. We'll have to do some inspectigating of the situation.

Funny you should say that Write Procrastinator, I wrote about that film here because I loved it. Moments later, I changed my name legally to Nick Cave.

They let Rufus W. sing Everybody Knows and he did a great job on that too, I'll have to look up the one you mentioned WP.

Hey Sassypants, I don't know much about Leonard myself. Give some of the songs a preview anyway.

Another cover I'll be looking up Johnny Yen, thanks. When will we have an audio blog entry of you performing Suzanne?

I love it when the comments end up not being related to the post Old Lady! I haven't seen The Heart... but as I was racking my brain trying to think of what I'd heard about it and Saviour Onassis' name popped into my head. He wrote a piece about it here on one of his blogs. It sounds intriguing. What did you think?

Johnny, I had to go back and reread your comment because I wondered where you'd screwed up. I'm generally pretty thorough but my brain must have filled in the word fan on its own. Hilarious though, you huge huge song you! Thanks for pointing it out.

I wondered why Jennifer wasn't in it and I definitely remember her from both those songs although I've never seen the Officer / Gentleman movie. I think it's on one of the movie channels this month though coincidentally.

Let the confessions begin poor Chancelucky for I, Dale, am a bad Canadian. I knew Leonard Cohen before this for the Jennifer Warnes connection, the several versions of Hallelujah out there (kd lang most recently, Jeff Buckley most beautifully) and little else. I'm always a little late to the party it seems. Except when I'm so far ahead of the game that everyone thinks I'm nuts. Or do they think that anyway?

The film is really worth it Tumuli and as I mentioned above, I don't know much more but I'm willing to learn! Your mix tapes must be great. I love the music you choose to post about.

Mellowlee said...

Your welcome. haha, yes it did look like he wanted out of there, and wasted no time when he was done :) Funny. XD

Jill said...

Exept the Halleluah in Shrek... I'll have to disagree intesively with you, Dale!!! I hate Leonard Cohen with a passion!! We did like half a semester on him during my english class in university, and during each class, I felt depressed!!!
So don't exepct me to watch that movie anytime soon!!!

Dale said...

Poor thing's been traumatized somehow Mel. What did you say to him?!

I won't force you then Jill, it seems like you've suffered enough. Poor Leonard, I wonder how he'd feel knowing what he'd done to you?

Old Lady said...

That was accurate. It was a pretty good movie, a bit jumpy, the kid was great. Dark and edgy.

Jill said...

It's not really Leonard fault!!! Quilan, my english professor is to blame!!! He did make a lot of us, in the class, hate Cohen.
(And the fact that they mix the French and English speaking didn't help!!! I really don't understand why, cuz they have separate class for the French courses!!)

mellowlee said...

I'll never tell ;)

X. Dell said...

(1) Thanks for the heads up on the Cohen documentary. The interviews sound more interesting than the music (I always look upon such tributes as a kind of freak show, anyway).

(2) At least Bono knows that chasm doesn't start with an 'F' and rhymes with Donald or Daffy.

Dale said...

I'm glad you liked it Old Lady, I'll have to give it a look one of these days. I definitely enjoy dark and edgy.

Oh sure Jill, blame the English when we know it's always the French! :-)

We have ways to make you talk Mel. Care for a cd?

The performances were actually great X. Dell whether you like that sort of thing or not and the interview portions were somewhat scant really. It's still worthwhile I think though. I don't mind Bono doing his rock star thing as long as I don't have to listen to him muck things up by talking.

Jill said...

I'll be taking back the end of the comment I just wrote to you, know I know why I mean with you lately!!
And don't get me started, you damn Loyalist!!!
You are talking to an damn proud Acadian girl, here!!!
And I'll blame who I want!!!

Dale said...

Okay Jill, I don't want a war so we'll just say I'm right and leave it at that! :-)

Jill said...

No, I think you want war!! And you got it!!!
I want an 1755 kind of war, but with the role exange(turn...)!!!
(You should start to know better that, dale!!)

Dale said...

Let's have a cease fire.

Jill said...

Are you waving your white flag at me?

Dale said...

Just for now.

Jill said...

We will make peace, then!!

Dale said...

You win Jill. Leonard Cohen sucks.

Jill said...

Were you still arguing on that?(By the way, even if I hate him, you don't have to... Have your own opinion, cuz that is why I'm still reading your blog)

Dale said...

Peace out.