Friday, January 27, 2017

Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire (1974) A Film by Tony Palmer

"Like [D.A.] Pennebaker, [Tony] Palmer shoots in 16mm in anonymous green rooms and regal concert halls but plays looser with his aesthetic (mixing monochrome and color stock) and allows himself more fanciful editorial digressions. A live performance of 'Sisters of Mercy,' for instance, intercuts Cohen's on-stage act with both contemporaneous footage of him on tour and various flashback snippets of the singer reading and writing poetry, while a radiant rendition of 'So Long, Marianne' intermingles impressionistic home movies of Cohen as a young boy. In a more dubious example, Palmer sources graphic clips of suffering in Vietnam during the war to complement Cohen's musings on the political utility of his music—an intrusion which effectively sullies the suggestive vagueness of his lyrics on these subjects."

Full review here.

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