Ladies and Gentlemen... Mr. Leonard Cohen

This informal black-and-white portrait of Leonard Cohen shows him at age 30 on a visit to his hometown of Montreal, where the poet, novelist and songwriter comes "to renew his neurotic affiliations." He reads his poetry to an enthusiastic crowd, strolls the streets of the city, relaxes in this three-dollar-a-night hotel room and even takes a bath.

From the playlist : Donald Brittain: Writer, filmmaker, storyteller.

A lot of Donald's work was salvage jobs for other people, and that's how he came to do this film. Don Owen shot the tour of the four poets, couldn't get it to work and Brittain came in and saw that the only thing that worked was the Leonard Cohen segments.

The most interesting thing is the exploration of documentary truth, where Cohen writes in the bathtub, caveat emptor, and then the two of them sit in the theatre and Don questions him about that scene. It's an interesting exchange. The whole film is basically the two of them saying, "Don't believe everything you see just because it's documentary."

They stayed friends all their life. Cohen was at Don's funeral in tears. They recognized each other as authentic human beings. The lived the lives they wanted to lead.

— Adam Symansky

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Comments

  • BangkokJohnny

    “The cigarette smoke prevails” — BangkokJohnny, 14 Apr 2014

  • earl64

    “I did not realize Cohen was famous before he started singing. I love his poetry and will try to get my hands on his books of poetry.” — earl64, 2 Feb 2012

  • abatko

    “At 8:40 Leonard Cohen says: When I get up in the morning... my real concern is to discover whether I'm in a state of grace. And if I make that investigation, and I discover that I am not in a state of grace, I try to go [back] to bed. A state of grace is that kind of balance with which you ride the chaos that you find around you. It's not a matter of resolving the chaos -- because there's something arrogant and warlike about putting the world in order -- but having a kind of escape ski down over a hill, just going through the contours of the hill. Interviewer interjects: Oh, you have lost me! Irving Layton explains: What Cohen is trying to do right now is to preserve the self; that's his real concern, and I think that is the concern for every poet: to preserve the self in a world that is rapidly steamrollering the selves out of existence, and establishing a uniform world.” — abatko, 5 May 2010

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Film Credits

director
Donald Brittain
Don Owen
producer
John Kemeny
writer
Donald Brittain
photography
Paul Leach
Laval Fortier
Roger Racine
editing
Barrie Howells
location sound
Roger Hart
Barry Ferguson
sound editing
Marguerite Payette
re-recording
Ron Alexander
Roger Lamoureux
music
Donald Douglas
narrator
Michael Kane

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