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Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man

Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man

3.4 5
Director: Lian Lunson

Cast: Antony, Beth Orton, Jarvis Cocker


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Leonard Cohen is widely regarded as one of the finest and most influential poets and songwriters of his generation, a writer whose artful mélange of love, eros, and despair has earned him a passionate international following and the respect and admiration of artists ranging from R.E.M. to Johnny Cash. In 2005, music producer Hal Wilner staged an all-star tribute


Leonard Cohen is widely regarded as one of the finest and most influential poets and songwriters of his generation, a writer whose artful mélange of love, eros, and despair has earned him a passionate international following and the respect and admiration of artists ranging from R.E.M. to Johnny Cash. In 2005, music producer Hal Wilner staged an all-star tribute concert in Australia in which a handful of major artists offered their interpretations of Cohen's songs, including Nick Cave, Jarvis Cocker of Pulp, Rufus Wainwright, Beth Orton, Kate and Anna Mcgarrigle, and many more. Leonard Cohen I'm Your Man includes highlights from this concert and thoughts on Cohen and his work from the participants as well as an extensive interview with Leonard Cohen himself as he talks in detail about his life and his art. The film also includes a special performance of "Tower of Song," in which Cohen is accompanied by U2.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Futterman
By turns a concert film and a biographal portrait, I’m Your Man attempts to capture the elusive essence of poet and songwriter Leonard Cohen. Cohen’s music is represented by various artists performing at a tribute organized by the innovative producer Hal Wilner, while the Canadian wordsmith slips in and out of the narrative as a talking head, discussing the vagaries of his eventful life. The consistent beauty and passion of the performances reflect the admiration felt by a disparate assembly of singers that includes Nick Cave, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Jarvis Cocker from the Brit-pop band Pulp, New York cult figure Anthony, and neo-folkers Teddy Thompson and Beth Orton. Highlights include Cave’s mordant reading of “I’m Your Man,” Martha Wainwright’s chilling “The Traitor,” Thompson’s shyly romantic “Tonight Will Be Fine,” Rufus’s campily tangoed “Everybody Knows,” and a heartbreaking “If It Be Your Will” by the androgynous-voiced Antony. Woven throughout are Cohen’s own quiet, penetrating reflections and observations on a life that has encompassed la vie de bohème in Montreal, '60s revelry at the Chelsea Hotel, world fame as a singer-songwriter, and extended studies at a Buddhist retreat. When the master finally sings a closing “Tower of Song” -- in a studio performance supportedd by an adoring U2 -- the payoff is more than worth the anticipation.
All Movie Guide
Having never been what one would call a mainstream artist, Leonard Cohen has earned his loving and supportive fan base the old-fashioned way, winning people over during the course of his decades-spanning career with his resonating deep voice, brilliant lyrics, and memorable personality. In Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man, a cluster of such fans, who also happen to be musicians, offer up their own renditions of some of his songs, paying homage to a man who helped inspire them -- offering thanks, as participant Nick Cave puts it. The film is mainly comprised of performances from a series of tribute concerts filmed in Sydney, Australia, in 2005 intercut with bits of an extensive interview with Leonard Cohen in his Los Angeles home; some vintage footage, photographs, Cohen's drawings, and images of his writing float over the top of it all. The style in which these two main components of the film are spliced together is disorienting at times, mainly because of the strange delay put on certain sound clips, which is interesting, but makes what's actually being said hard to grasp. Also, director Lian Lunson seems to have been going for somewhat of a foreshadowing effect by flashing up brief images here and there of a red sequined shimmer, and once, the back of Leonard Cohen's head. These shots later reveal themselves as footage from the performance that closes out the film, "Tower of Song," done by Cohen himself (accompanied by U2), but taken as they come during the course of things, they seem a little out of place and strange (especially that shot of his head). The slightly surrealistic editing doesn't take away from the integrity of the actual footage, thankfully. It's still a rare privilege to see an interview with the man, and to see other musicians honoring him so unabashedly. Cohen talks freely about his life, but the parts that were included in the film are mainly the more infamous ones, such as his stint as an ordained monk on Mount Baldy in California, his encounter with Janis Joplin that inspired "Chelsea Hotel #2," and the charmingly botched album Death of a Ladies Man, which Cohen says he never quite mastered. Each performance was obviously done with great respect and admiration, even if they aren't all perfect technical gems. Some have little quirks which make them endearing, such as "Everybody Knows" -- featuring Rufus Wainwright, his sister Martha, their mother, Kate McGarrigle, and her sister, Anna -- in which one of the McGarrigles gets a little overzealous and lets out an extra "and," or when Jarvis Cocker goes into spastic mode at the end of "I Can't Forget." There are moments of brilliance, of course. Antony, a relative newcomer from New York City, gives a shockingly beautiful rendition of "If It Be Your Will" that may bring unprepared viewers to tears. Nick Cave's performance of "I'm Your Man" is powered by a massive amount of charisma and panache and is a fitting opening number, and former Cohen backup singer Perla Batalla receives fervent applause during her duet of "Anthem" with Julie Christensen. Occasionally, the topics of the interview with Cohen synch up with the performances, and things end up with the man somewhat coyly flirting with the idea of ending his extensive hiatus from touring, followed immediately by the aforementioned rendition of "Tower of Song" with U2 as backing band (filmed separately from the tribute concert). Whether Lunson intended this last scene as a hidden clue to Cohen's fans that the once-reclusive man was serious about a tour, or tossed it in merely to feed the rumor mill, it will undoubtedly hang in their minds.

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Antony Actor
Beth Orton Actor
Jarvis Cocker Actor
Julie Christensen Actor
Kate & Anna McGarrigle Actor
Linda Thompson Actor
Martha Wainwright Actor
Nick Cave Actor
Perla Batalla Actor
Rufus Wainwright Actor
Teddy Thompson Actor
Handsome Family Actor
Leonard Cohen Actor
Bono Actor
Edge Actor
Larry Mullen Actor
Adam Clayton Actor
Janice Burlesque Beauty
Joan Weldon Burlesque Beauty
U2 Actor

Technical Credits
Lian Lunson Director,Camera Operator,Executive Producer
Kevin Beggs Executive Producer
Steve Bernstein Musical Arrangement,Musical Direction/Supervision
Rodney Bolton Camera Operator
Robin Burger Musical Arrangement
Mike Cahill Editor
Leonard Cohen Score Composer
Bruce Davey Executive Producer
Joe Foley Camera Operator
Mel Gibson Executive Producer
Sarah Greenberg Executive Producer
Geoffrey Hall Cinematographer
Marcus Hides Camera Operator
Rebecca Morley Production Manager
Erik Nelson Executive Producer
Toshiaki Ozawa Camera Operator
Tim Palen Executive Producer
John Pirozzi Cinematographer
Sandy Stern Executive Producer
Matt Toll Camera Operator
Hal Willner Art Director


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Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
edvardjr More than 1 year ago
Sometimes I think Leonard Cohen is the most underappreciated musician in the last hundred years because no one I know has ever heard of the man. Then I see something like this movie, that reminds that there are people out there with a great appreciation of this phenomenal musical talent. This documentary gathers a few famous faces and a number of musicians I've never heard of (lots of Canadians maybe?) and films a concert put on in tribute to the music of Cohen. It's ALL good. You might not find all your favorite songs performed, but a great many of them, and all of them are done with incredible love and style. However, I've never quite understood the concert documentary. Why watch the filmed concert when you can play the CD as much as you like when you're in your car or when you're working? Of course the concert is only half of the movie. The other half, interspersed through the film, is a candid interview with Mr. Cohen and the artists discussing his genius. The interviews with Cohen are incredibly insightful and eye-opening for anyone interested in his music. The only flaw is that these interviews are so short. Why not make the WHOLE movie the interview portion, a filmed biography of the man, providing his music in the background as soundtrack? So what we've got feels like two half-documentaries, half a concert and half an interview. For what it is, it's wonderful, I just wish it were more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reminded me of the past & the effect Leonard Cohen had on the time period.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An amazing look into the various musicians and styles of music that Mr. Cohen has influenced. There are some must see moments on this disc. Other than the Douche Bag Bono, who seems  to always jump on the "I was influenced by the cool artist" bandwagon just so he can think he is  relevant in any way to important music, there are many interviews with Leonard and other truly groundbreaking musicians. Antony has an absolutely epic performance that will make you rewind the disc over and over to watch it again and again. This is a must own movie!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
unsightly More than 1 year ago
Too much time spent listening to the incessant babble of Bono and The Edge. Who cares? Give me more Leonard.