Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man (2005)

More an homage than a biography, I'm Your Man is essential if you're a Cohen fan, but is probably not the best place to start.

By Matthew Van Allen
Published February 26, 2007

Directed by Lian Lunson. Performances by: Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, Jarvis Cocker, Beth Orton, Wainwright Family, Antony (Antony and the Johnsons), U2

Writing in general - and now about one of the most important Canadian writers ever, Leonard Cohen - yikes! Let me cross my t's, dot my i's and say a little prayer in humble respects.

My personal interest in Cohen has been years in the making. It didn't come easy. It was much like dusting off an old record a number of times before discovering there was still a hidden track left to be heard.

Perhaps like some of you of this generation, I was introduced to Mr. Cohen not through his books, nor his poetry, but through his music. At that it wasn't even his voice that charmed me; it was the voice of another - the late Jeff Buckley. Hallelujah! (Yes, in more ways than one).

Even before seeing this film I have to admit that I was interested in seeing it to hear one or two other voices other than Mr. Cohen's. Please stick with that thought if you plan on venturing through this film, because I'm Your Man is by no means a documentary.

If anything, it is more of a concert film, which captures a January 2005 live tribute show performed at Sydney Opera House titled "Came so Far for Beauty".

Mr. Cohen does cut in and out throughout the film to deliver you his opinions and comments about the song's actual origins, but he does not grace the stage. These cameos are merely inserted via editing technology where his spirit can quite literally be faded in and out.

Performances range from very good to somewhat strange and awkward. No disrespect intended but watching Antony sing "If it be your will" was like studying the martial arts known as Drunken Kung fu.

Antony has a very strong and powerful voice, but I was trying to figure out if his presentation was one of genuine craft or just one of a dizzy, hopeful candidate looking to land a chance punch. (The audience in Sydney gives a great applause but I believe you should be the judge whether or not it's a hit).

To See Or Not To See: Hear! This is an interesting show but I think it is quite obvious the reasons you may or may not want to watch this. Perhaps pick up a copy of "Songs of Love and Hate" or even one of his best of albums if you are a newcomer. This is a music homage focusing on the songs of Leonard Cohen so if you are looking for the book of answers you may not be satisfied.

Matthew is the RTH film and culture critic. He runs The In Between: Moving Pictures and Culture, which you can find inside Sky Dragon at 27 King William Street.

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By sterina (registered) | Posted September 11, 2017 at 01:54:33

The cutaways during the performances did get a little painful to watch. I do not mind a description of what the music meant to you, but what about after the performance not during it. The flow of this concert at time is hurt by all the back and forth nonsense that we get from the artists. I know it is meant to be a tribute, but I feel that at times they are talking more to hear themselves talk than to pay respect. All in all, I did enjoy the blu ray and I would say if you are a Cohen fan, this is not the best, but it is not the worst. I did enjoy it at the theater, and enjoy it again on blu ray enough to give it a low B. I consider his music and poetry huge inspirations and I love to watch Cohen get his due respect. If you want to watch full lenght movie, get it on Terrarium TV. Download it from this website

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