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4.3 out of 5 stars
Cohen, Leonard - Leonard Cohen's Lonesome Heroes
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72 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2010
Chrome Dreams seems reluctant to advertise just how valuable and timely their new LC documentary is, so what follows are the insightful words of one Steven Rosen, from his own online review:

"While this does have short, archival excerpts of Cohen performances and interviews, it's primarily a deeply researched, scholarly and thoroughly engrossing look at his influences and origins as first a poet/novelist and then a songwriter. Chapters focus on the Beats, Henry Miller, Jacques Brel, Hank Williams, Federico Garcia Lorca, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, the folk revival, Judaism and Zen Buddhism. Among those interviewed are Cohen biographers Ira Nadel and Stephen Scobie, Beat Generation expert John Tytell, Garcia Lorca scholar Leslie Stainton, rock critic Anthony DeCurtis and Buddhist monk Kigen. Perhaps the best of the interviews is with Judy Collins, who recounts how she discovered Cohen as a songwriter when she recorded three of his compositions..."

I couldn't have said it better myself.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2010
I watched this documentary yesterday, loved it and will certainly go back to it. Some of the older stuff I had seen before, but there is a lot new to explore. Some of the clips from earlier performances are not of the best quality, but this is all about the people and circumstances which influenced the thoughts and work of Leonard Cohen, and this was done very well. Spanish poet Federico Lorca, Canadian Irving Layton, the beat writers as well as country singer Hank Williams, Ray Charles and the timely meeting with Judy Collins, together with his superior intellect and his Jewish background in French speaking Montreal, all helped putting Leonard Cohen on his path to the great artist he has become. There is also the very strong influence of Zen Buddhism in his life and work. The input by his biographer Ira Nadel, Collins and others really are informative and heart-warming.

Those who love this man for the extraordinary and unique artist that he is, go and buy this dvd. You won't be disappointed and you'll get a much better understanding of his work and the man himself.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2010
Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful DVD if one wants to finally understand the origins and inspirations of Leonard Cohen. This DVD is a series of interviews and reviews of his life's work. His inspirations, in the form of poets, writers, other musicians are explored in great depth. I learned a great deal about his muse and his life. It has very few clips of him singing because that is not the purpose of it. My only criticism is the last line of Judy Collins supplemental interview about his medications -- that was a bit flippant for the end of a good piece.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2011
It is good to read so many positive reviews here, I have just watched the DVD and was also very impressed. Before going on to say why I'd like to address the one negative review below.

I am sorry that K. Rathburn was disappointed but then she seems to be disappointed because she bought a coffee maker and it doesn't produce orange juice!

The product description reads:
Although it can be difficult to detect the influences in the work of Leonard Cohen, he was informed by a far-reaching list of musicians, writers, poets and philosophies. In Leonard Cohen's Lonesome Heroes, the scope and detail of his artistic inspirations are put under the microscope...(etc.)

Leonard Cohen's Lonesome Heroes analyses Cohen's work in terms of his influences. Inteviews with key critics, biographers and academics), give us an insightful overview into the people who have inspired Leonard Cohen.

I have been involved in similar productions in the past, and then read reviews similar to K. Rathburn's here that slate the product for being something other than the expected - perhaps a live show from the artist in question are something like that; which is a pity as it isn't what the product has ever claimed to be.

I have absolutely no involvement in this production, I hasten to add, though I would have been very proud to have been a part of it. I particularly like the even-handed emphasis on poetry music and religion and with the speakers manage to deal with academic subjects in an easy to understand manner never resorting to `Academese' nor sounding patronising. I thought the section on Lorca particularly strong and that Stephen Scobie was really `the ace in the pack' as he is an expert in both folk music (especially Bob Dylan) and poetry (especially the Beats and Canadian poetry) so he can cover Leonard Cohen's art insight and empathy from every angle.

I found the ending superb because it made a point about Leonard in relation to other artists that I have spent my life listening to and indeed writing about and yet it was a point that had never occurred to me. It seems so obvious now, perhaps that means that I am the only one who hasn't thought of it, but, anyway, I won't spoil it by repeating what they say here as it is done so neatly on the film. (Neil Young might spoil the argument slightly, but it's still a good one.)

All in all: well constructed, nicely put together, an insightful commentary giving a detailed and rounded portrait of Mr. Cohen. I am very glad to have seen it and have no doubt I will watch it again.

PS: Oh and there is a bonus interview with Judy Collins talking about her relationship with Cohen in the "extras".
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2010
It's a documentary, if you dont like documentaries, then dont give it 1 star, unless its a bad DOCUMENTARY. So here's my 5 stars.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2013
Verified Purchase
Great addition to my Leonard Cohen Collection. I love this man. Sorry I just discovered him last year. Making up for lost time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2013
Verified Purchase
Leonard Cohen is a poet and musician from Quebec who is one of a kind. His influences go all the way back to Spanish Civil War poet Federico Garcia Lorca. My favorite poem by Lorca as we gringos call him (Lorca is his mother's maiden name) is Romance Sonambulo, which begins with "Verde que te quiero verde. Verde viento. Verdes ramas. El barco sobre la mar y el caballo en la montana." If you don't know the words, just sound them out to get a feeling for the rhythm. You will encounter many gypsies (gitanos) in Lorca's poems.
Other Cohen influences are the American poet Walt Whitman and the beat poets Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, the French poet Arthur Rimbaud and singers Judy Collins, Ray Charles, Jacques Brell and Hank Williams.
My favorite Cohen song is Democracy (is coming to the USA). If you have not heard Cohen's songs, he still does concerts at a ripe old age, which quickly appear on CD or DVD.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2013
An interesting and well done documentary. HOWEVER, it boils down to a bunch of scholars GUESSING what Mr. Cohen's influences were - there are no interviews with Mr. Cohen. So what's the point? Why not just ask HIM who and how he was influenced? Sheesh! Why guess?
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on February 11, 2014
Verified Purchase
I've loved everything that Leonard's done since I was first turned on to him in an english class in 1967
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on June 17, 2013
Verified Purchase
If you love Leonard Cohen you don't need my review and if you don't know Leonard Cohen then this is a good place to start.
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