The 11 Best Documentaries And Videos About Leonard Cohen

Aug 10, 2023 | Best Of, Celebrities, Media

Few musicians have had the impact and cultural reach of Leonard Cohen. His poetic lyrics, unique singing style, and ability to capture the spirit of a moment in time set him apart from his contemporaries. His music has been embraced by generations of fans around the world, and it stands as an iconic touchstone for millions of people. But what role does film play in his legacy? This article examines the best documentaries about Leonard Cohen and reveals why they are essential viewing. From intimate portraits to sweeping narratives, these fascinating films explore the life and work of one of modern music’s most influential figures. We take a look at each of them and discuss what makes them so special. So get ready for an unforgettable journey through the world of Leonard Cohen.

Leonard Cohen was a poet and musician that made an indelible impact on the music industry of the late 20th century. From his early childhood days, to his time as a budding artist, this DVD-film proudly showcases his entire career in film form. It takes you through all of his albums starting with 1967’s ‘Songs From A Room’ up to his 1977 masterpiece – ‘Death Of A Ladies Man’ produced by Phil Spector. Viewers can expect to see performances, archived interviews, TV material and contributions from those that knew him best. It’s all accompanied with never-before seen photographs, location shoots and news reports. This program will delight Leonard Cohen fans around the world and stands as the definitive work on this iconic musician. It’s a great way to explore Leonard Cohen’s life and career, so music fans don’t miss out! Sit back, relax and enjoy watching an icon of modern music unfold before your eyes. It’s sure to be an unforgettable cinematic experience that’ll stay with you for years to come.


Leonard Cohen was born in 1934, in Montreal, Canada. He was the son of a Jewish family descended from Polish and Ukranian immigrants. From an early age, he had a deep appreciation for music and literature. Through high school and college, he pursued his interest in poetry and music; eventually graduating with honors from McGill University with a degree in English Literature. His first book of poetry, “Let Us Compare Mythologies”, was published in 1956 and was lauded for its intricate and profound lyrics. Over the next few years, he released several other collections of poetry that further solidified his influence on modern literature. In 1967, Leonard Cohen released his debut album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, which featured some of his most iconic songs, such as “Suzanne” and “Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye”. In 1969, he released Songs From a Room, which featured “Bird on the Wire”, one of his most beloved songs. Cohen’s music career would span over five decades and include fourteen studio albums. His influence was felt in many genres – from folk music to alternative rock.


Leonard Cohen was an iconic figure who made a lasting impression on many people throughout his lifetime. He truly embraced the Zen philosophy in his life, and practiced it ardently at the Mt. Baldy Center for several years. His friendship with Roshi, the founder of the center and Zen master, lasted until Roshi’s death in 2014 at the age of 107. Cohen was deeply moved by the passing of his dear friend and mentor, but the wisdom he gained from their time together left a lasting impression on him. The documentary of Armelle Brusq (1996) gives us an insight into his life and journey, which is a source of inspiration for many to this day.


Stina and Leonard had a chance meeting in 2001, destined to become one of those special connections that neither of them could have known would last for years to come. After casually exchanging pleasantries, they began discussing music, literature, art and the world at large. The conversation was filled with laughter and lightness—an unspoken connection between two kindred souls who were just beginning to comprehend the power of friendship. Their relationship blossomed over time, and Stina quickly became a constant companion to Leonard—a confidant with whom he could freely share his thoughts and experiences. From their conversations emerged a rich exchange of ideas, prompting Leonard to create some of his most beloved works.


Leonard Cohen was a great thinker and philosopher. He had many theories on life, democracy, and the future that he shared with people during his lifetime. He believed in the power of knowledge and education to empower people, as well as in the importance of democracy for ensuring freedom and justice for all. He also held strong opinions about society’s responsibility to protect the vulnerable and disadvantaged, and his thoughts on the role of government in society were equally as revolutionary. He believed that governments should provide economic opportunities for all people, but also hold accountable those who abuse their power or take advantage of others. Additionally, he argued that citizens should be allowed to have a say in how their countries are run, instead of leaving it up to politicians alone. Cohen’s vision of the future was equally progressive and inspiring. He foresaw a world where people would be free from poverty, oppression and violence.


This portrait of Leonard Cohen at age 30 captures a moment of renewal in his life. The poet, novelist and songwriter visits the streets of his hometown Montreal surrounded by an enthusiastic crowd that eagerly awaits to hear him read his poetry. He takes a bath in a humble three-dollar-a-night hotel room, all the while gathering up energy for yet another creative pursuit. Amidst his busy schedule, Cohen always values the importance of coming home to his roots and recharging before moving forward. His portraits gives us a glimpse of the power that lies in taking a break from our lives and embracing the familiar. A moment to reconnect with yourself while enveloped by the warmth of home – now that is true renewal! Each time Cohen visits his hometown, he brings a little piece of the city with him.


As a singer, poet, author and Zen Monk of the 60s and 70s – Leonard Cohen was an artist unlike anyone else. Aside from his immense dedication to crafting some of the most mesmerizing music ever heard, he left behind an incredible body of work that has inspired countless artists from across every genre imaginable. His insights are as powerful today as they were four decades ago.


Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen’s story is one of those that touched the hearts of many. Leonard and Marianne met in Greece, during a time where they both found solace in freedom from their pasts. They quickly developed feelings for each other but never became a couple officially. Nonetheless, despite all differences between them, their love endured over time. The two were often seen strolling on the streets of Greece, talking and laughing the night away. They shared a deep affection for each other, both embracing their differences in a way that was both beautiful and touching. Marianne’s warm presence offered Leonard comfort and peace, something he had thought to be out of his reach after all the years of turmoil.


At the 48th edition of the Deauville American Film Festival, two documentaries take us on a journey through the lives of music legends. “Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song” directs viewers through an exploration of the singer-songwriter’s life and his most iconic song. Directed by Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine, this film immerses us in the sounds and stories of Cohen’s music. On the other hand, “Moonage Daydream” takes audiences behind-the-scenes with David Bowie. Brett Morgen directs this documentary using previously unseen footage to tell its story. A tribute to one of the greatest artists of all time, it follows his career from the earliest stages of his life, through his rise to fame and influence. We get a personal look into the singer’s life, with insights from family members, collaborators and friends that will captivate fans everywhere. Both films provide an intimate look at music legends in their own right.


Leonard Cohen is one of the world’s most renowned songwriters and performers, with a career that has spanned across decades. His music has been beloved by millions around the world, but his magnum opus is arguably “Hallelujah.” The song was conceived through years of hard work, and when it was released on his album Various Positions, it wasn’t well received by his record label. It wasn’t until years later when it was covered on the album I’m Your Fan that it gained traction and eventually became a classic. In its journey from Cohen to Dylan, Cale, Buckley, Wainwright, and kdlang, the song has been transformed into a secular anthem and in some cases even over-saturated through talent shows. However, all of that changed when it was featured in the Shrek soundtrack.


Leonard Cohen has returned to the house he shared with his muse, Marianne — the inspiration for SO LONG MARIANNE. Joining him on this nostalgic journey are his backing singers Perla Batalla and Julie Christensen. The visit was captured in a 1988 documentary called SONGS FROM THE LIFE OF LEONARD COHEN. During an interview for that film, when asked if his Marianne was the same as David Blue’s, he curiously inquired “How do you know that?” I had her before from the poetic stories of a much older songwriter. We would play it and laugh in the morning on the floor until he appeared at the lower East Side door. She was a constant reminder of winter nights – a fragile beauty with eyes that burned like a fire. For saints on the walls, holy candles in the halls, I held her close and cried. Though Marianne has since then been absent from my life, I still remember her words of wisdom: “I’m frightened,” she said; to which I responded “Yes, I know.”



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