Leonard Cohen Documentary “Hallelujah”: A Song and Its Maker | NDR.de – Culture

Status: 11/16/2022 06:00 AM

Daniel Geller and Dina Goldfein’s well-executed documentary Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song combines the songwriter’s biography with the fascinating story of one of his greatest hits.

by Matisse Coppingoff

Leonard Cohen, born 1934, Canadian poet, painter, singer-songwriter, wrote this and that and died in 2016. That’s pretty much how a documentary about Leonard Cohen can be made — but luckily filmmakers Daniel Geller and Dina Goldfein chose a different path. Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, Journey, Song is truly a journey through the song’s remarkable story as well as the poignant biography of a songwriter who only decided to pursue a career in music at the age of 32.

The song “Hallelujah” as a common thread in the documentary

The song in the film also serves as a common thread in Cohen’s biography: a philosopher in search of creative crises, a stand-up man, and the occasional monk, but also in his later years a singer with a surprising comeback. The film is comprehensive and highly respected, and is an interesting tour of the artist’s life and exciting career. Of course, Cohen’s fans already know a lot of the facts, but they can also learn new things while immersing themselves in “Hallelujah.”

The record company rejected 1984’s “Hallelujah”: “It’s Not Good Enough!”

Leonard Cohen recorded in Lower Manhattan in the mid-1980s

When Cohen wanted to release the song in 1984, his record company refused to release the accompanying album, “Different Locations”. Not good enough, she says—the singer-songwriter worked on the song almost endlessly: Cohen appears to have written an estimated 150 verses and notebooks full of verses over the years to accumulate.

“Hallelujah”: a song of great power

“Hallelujah” still touches listeners and inspires musicians to this day: a song not only with tremendous power, but also with a strange, sexy genesis. Bob Dylan was the first to publish “Hallelujah” with a cover. An entire generation knows “Hallelujah” mainly through Jeff Buckley’s interpretation.

Film based on the book Sacred or Broken

The movie is based on the 2012 book The Holy Or The Broken by Alan Light. Shortly before Cohen’s death in 2016, the filmmakers began giving interviews. They worked through more than 100 hours of archive and audio material, as well as nearly 70 hours of interview material. A massive effort they edited together into a two hour movie. The work was worth it: the musicians, producers, and Cohen’s comrades had their say. Viewers will learn how a pop song repeatedly celebrated renaissance – whether on the soundtrack to “Shrek” as interpreted by Rufus Wainwright or as an emotional recipe for success in talent shows.

A song that has a life of its own

It doesn’t matter who tries the song to this day: it’s a song that has a life of its own that’s totally intangible, but seems to work for everyone. A hymn for happy occasions such as weddings. lamented at funerals, as a source of comfort and hope in difficult times. in a spiritual function, but also in countless amateur interpretations as a cover version that constantly appears on the shopping streets. “Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song” has become a very good documentary that carefully demonstrates the pop cultural significance of the song, but also of its creator.

Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, Journey, Song

Production year:
Production country:
USA and Canada
Daniel Geller and Dina Goldfein
115 minutes
from 0 years
Theatrical release:
November 17, 2022

This topic in the program:

Culture NDR | matinee | 11/17/2022 | 09:20 am

NDR logo

Leave a Comment