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Leonard Cohen live in 1972

Tony Palmer’s movie of Leonard Cohen’s 1972 tour of Europe is beautiful, nuanced and a more candid than most other representations of the artist. Along with concert footage, off-stage scenes reveal a timid and humble Cohen, seemingly overwhelmed by the female attention he receives; he’s also forthcoming and straightforward when talking about himself and his music, ditching the enigmatic and distant airs adopted by many in his position – careful editing has chosen only those shots in which the presence of the camera seems incidental.

Watch, if only for the final concert in Jerusalem, where close-ups work as if to discover the vulnerability, nostalgia and longing behind Cohen’s eyes, the source of so many of his greatest songs. Gently observing his face, the camera captures tears in his eyes while he sings So Long Marianne, in what is a laudably sensitive piece of concert filmmaking.

-A.B

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