THE SONG OF LEONARD COHEN (1980) [Feature]

Canada (MIFF 1981 )
Director: Harry Rasky

"Leonard Cohen is the city. He is the French and English Canadian. He is the searching youth. He is the confused Canadian He is the voice of loneliness. He is religion. He is a lyric. He is a sound He is the wandering Jew. He is
many things. And the film must reflect this. The interweaving of his many meanings is the key to the total effect. The film is a symphony of his sounds and our visualization of what we feel those sounds mean. In telling his story, we should be able to tell a lot about ourselves.

The basic device is to use his concert tour as a metaphor for his life and for the aspirations of Canadians generally — pulled apart, dislocated, holding on to old values, experimenting with new ones. His locale is Montreal .. . his locale is also the search ... the search for each other... the search for ourselves.

We blend back and forth from song, to interview, to concert — dissolving through to meaning of lyrics. So, in that sense the film is both a concert and a poetic visualization of the concert... with passages of Cohen talking and reciting. Eventually these talk periods blend with the sounds overlaid by Cohen on the guitar. The entire film is then like a minstrel-commentary, on a life and on our times.'

Harry Rasky

Select Festival

Search the film archive