The Song of Leonard Cohen

Award-winning filmmaker Harry Rasky’s warm and revealing portrait of Leonard Cohen incorporates songs from the performer’s 1979 European tour with interviews of the artist. The documentary captures Cohen in a reflective state, as he invites the filmmaker into his “sparse and uncluttered home” in the heart of the immigrant section of Montreal, and takes him on a tour of some of his favourite haunts and his most treasured objects (including a picture of the Wailing Wall given to him by his grandmother’s brother, and a book in Hebrew written by his grandfather called A Lexicon of Hebrew Homonyms). Among the many gems in the film: Cohen talks about his family background and his love of the army (his father was one of the first commissioned Jewish officers in the Canadian military); describes his view of the role of the artist; and explains the origins of the song “Suzanne,” which was partially inspired by Montreal’s Notre- Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel, dedicated to sailors. Highlights also include a wonderful exchange between Cohen and friend Irving Layton, in which Layton explains why he believes the whole world has become Jewish, and why he regards Cohen as a genius.

90 minutes

Shown at

  1. 19th Toronto Jewish Film Festival - 2011

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