26 juin 2006

Leonard Cohen Tribute

I don't usually post non-cinema related stuff here, cause I don't know how to write about anything else, but this blogathon honors a documentary from Toronto 2005, Berlin 2006 and Sundance 2006 : Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man (2005/Lian Lunson/USA) I haven't seen the film unfortunately (not distributed in France yet). Although I can't miss the opportunity to show my admiration for my most favorite songwriter with a quick post.

Leonard Cohen is the anti-hero, a romantic loser who can't afford love. He remembers affairs in hotels around the world. He collides supreme poetic moments and crude erotism in a novelist way. Solitude, existential struggle, self-pity modesty, political cynicism, resistance of ideas and revolution. He's a modernist akin to Antonioni, Bergman or Cassavetes. I like the melancholy of his stories, its indirect angles, his mundane poetry, his careful and useless details that make all the difference in memories.
Not to mention the beauty of his chords.

I'm Your Man is my dearest song for it will always remind me of my girlfriend.
Few favorites among many : So Long Marianne; Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye; Suzanne; Who By Fire?; Sisters of Mercy; Chelsea Hotel #2; The Partisan...

And of course :

Famous Blue Rain Coat
Composed and written by Leonard Cohen, 1971

It's four in the morning, the end of December
I'm writing you now just to see if you're better
New York is cold, but I like where I'm living
There's music on Clinton Street all through the evening.

I hear that you're building your little house deep in the desert
You're living for nothing now, I hope you're keeping some kind of record.

Yes, and Jane came by with a lock of your hair
She said that you gave it to her
That night that you planned to go clear
Did you ever go clear?

Ah, the last time we saw you you looked so much older
Your famous blue raincoat was torn at the shoulder
You'd been to the station to meet every train
And you came home without Lili Marlene

And you treated my woman to a flake of your life
And when she came back she was nobody's wife.

Well I see you there with the rose in your teeth
One more thin gypsy thief
Well I see Jane's awake
--She sends her regards.

And what can I tell you my brother, my killer
What can I possibly say?
I guess that I miss you, I guess I forgive you
I'm glad you stood in my way.

If you ever come by here, for Jane or for me
Your enemy is sleeping, and his woman is free.

Yes, and thanks, for the trouble you took from her eyes
I thought it was there for good so I never tried.

And Jane came by with a lock of your hair
She said that you gave it to her
That night that you planned to go clear

Sincerely, L. Cohen


It's like a great film. It's not a song, it's a letter. It's not a letter, it's a written monologue. It could be the synopsis of a Cassavetes film : New York, a love triangle, brotherly friendship, love/hate antagonism, miscommunication. A woman encompassed in a firstname. A suggested past between the characters, symbolized by objects (raincoat, lock of hair, rose), establishing a powerful melodrama without the need to elaborate any further, everything is there.

I'd like to mention Jeff Buckley's interpretation of Hallelujah, because he plays it even better than its author and transcends it. Simply magnificent!


Check out also other participants of this Blog-a-thon :

2 commentaires:

Maya a dit…

So glad you joined in, Harry. I'm always interested to hear what you have to say. I love "Famous Blue Raincoat." Couldn't stop singing it for days when I first heard Jennifer Warnes sing it.

HarryTuttle a dit…

Thanks Michael. :)
I never heard her version.

From Wikipedia, quotes by Leonard Cohen on Famous Blue Raincoat :

"I never felt I really sealed that song; I never felt the carpentry was finished. That song and Bird on the Wire were two songs I never successfully finished, but they were good enough to be used. Also, with the poverty of songs I have for each record, I can't afford to discard one as good as that. It's one of the better tunes I've written, but lyrically it's too mysterious, too unclear." (1993)

"The trouble with that song is that I've forgotten the actual triangle. Whether it was my own ... of course. I always felt that there was an invisible male seducing the woman I was with, now whether this one was incarnate or merely imaginary I don't remember, I've always had the sense that either I've been that figure in relation to another couple or there'd been a figure like that in relation to my marriage. I don't quite remember but I did have this feeling that there was always a third party, sometimes me, sometimes another man, sometimes another woman." (1994)