Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Leonard Cohen - "Bird On A Wire" DVD

This is a lost documentary/tour film of Cohen's 1972 European tour, salvaged from damaged tapes and rusty film boxes, and consequently lovingly and meticulously restored by original director Tony Palmer himself. It's a gorgeous and gritty portrait of Cohen and his entourage, captured at a prime moment in time.

Most notable here are the 17 intimate performances by one of music's most literate wordsmiths, including classics like the poignant "Suzanne", "Sisters Of Mercy", "Who By Fire?", and "Chelsea Hotel". In-between songs, we get to see Cohen assailed by journalists, adoring fans, and a plethora of flirtatious and accommodating beauties. Seriously, Cohen seemed to have a way with the ladies! But I digress. He's also seen writing his poetry, being interviewed for radio and press, and traveling with his bandmates. His improvised stage banter and spontaneous songwriting is inspiring, like his serenading the defective stage amplifier in Berlin.

Truly, this one could've been a holy mess, but credit is due to Palmer and his team, as this film is as good, cohesive, and immersive a tour document as I've ever seen. It's ripe with interesting moments, intimate conversations, and some amazing and timeless songwriting and performances by one of the masters. Simply a mesmerizing film that succeeds on several levels and shows Cohen as not only as a brilliant artist, but a down-to-earth human. Highest recommendations. (The Machat Company via MVD Visual)

Leonard Cohen official site

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