I noticed "Leonard Cohen-I'm Your Man" DVD in the documentary section at the library last night and, remembering I had added the film to my Netflix queue a while back, was thrilled to check it out for free.
I have to say, I was unprepared for how fascinating and uniquely talented a character Cohen is. The movie, lovingly directed by Lian Lunson (who has a blog), tells Cohen's story through a series of interviews with Cohen himself, cut with live performances of his songs by some seriously talented performers of today (some not so much, but this is a small quibble), and interspersed with interviews of his famous disciples, among them Bono and The Edge of U2.
Cohen himself, a monk, songwriter, poet, philosopher and novelist, born in 1934, is still hugely magnetic at seventy-one, the time of the filming (2005). In his youth, his looks were (credit to the S-Man on this) a cross between Al Pacino and Dustin Hoffman. His music is, in a word, dark. This isn't the sort of stuff you toss in the player and bop along cleaning your house to on a Sunday morning. It's more of a rainy post-break up alone with a bottle of wine what's-it-all-about Friday night kind of deal.
Cohen, a Canadian, enjoyed the majority of his commercial success in the 1960's and 70's when he released folk albums. Judy Collins had a hit with his song "Suzanne" (of course, I have to throw that in). Rober Altman used Cohen's music exclusively as the soundtrack for "McCabe and Mrs. Miller". Cohen published two novels, The Favourite Game in 1963, Beautiful Loser in 1966, and a volume of poetry, Flowers for Hitler, in 1964.
Whether you're a Cohen fan, or a completely ignorant goober about him, like I was, "I'm Your Man" is a must-see. The interview footage of Cohen is fascinating and the performances sometimes even transcendent like this one of Rufus Wainwright's.
You abandon your masterpiece and you sink into the real masterpiece.