Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller pay tribute to the person born with the reward of a golden voice in “Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Music,” a documentary exploring the origin story and legacy of Cohen’s seminal, oft-covered anthem. “You go searching and see a world that can not be made sense of — you both elevate your fist, otherwise you say ‘hallelujah,’” the late Canadian singer-songwriter, poet, and novelist observes. He stresses that “folks have been singing that phrase for hundreds of years,” however, as his many well-known admirers emphasize all through the doc, Cohen reworked the phrase and its which means by decoding it by his distinctive lens.
To say that writing “Hallelujah” was a laborious course of is an understatement. It’s the results of an all-encompassing, painstaking non secular journey. “I at all times thought I sweated over these items,” Cohen says, however “Hallelujah” redefined his exacting requirements. It took him years to put in writing the beloved basic, filling pocket book after pocket book with rejected lyrics. At one level he recollects being so annoyed by it that he was left banging his head on the ground of his resort room.
Paying explicit consideration to Cohen’s non secular and non secular id, the doc sees Cohen being described as a “seeker.” “Unlocking the mysteries of life was his main preoccupation,” we’re instructed. In tracing the evolution of “Hallelujah,” it’s clear that the track wouldn’t exist have been that not the case.
When, in the end, Cohen completed composing the track and recorded it, he and his collaborators have been satisfied they’d one thing particular. Cohen’s report label disagreed. Columbia Data rejected the album it was part of, “Numerous Positions,” unconvinced of its business viability. Although they’d already paid for the album, they opted to not launch it within the U.S.
It wasn’t till John Cale recorded a canopy “Hallelujah” that it began to develop a following. Jeff Buckley and Rufus Wainwright’s takes on the track, the latter of which appeared on the “Shrek” soundtrack, made it the immediately recognizable smash hit it’s right now, a staple of expertise competitions like “American Idol” and “The X Issue.”
In charting the track’s unlikely path to chart-topping success, the documentary additionally honors the artists who helped introduce it to the plenty and those that proceed to be impressed by “Hallelujah” and carry out it. Moreover Buckley and Wainwright, that record consists of Grammy winner Brandi Carlile, who speaks movingly about her relationship to the track with regard to her sexuality and faith.
“Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Music” isn’t simply in regards to the man or the story behind his magnum opus — it’s an exploration of how and why “Hallelujah” resonates so deeply with so many listeners. Cohen died in 2016, however “a really damaged hallelujah” continues to ring out in his absence.
“Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Music” is now in theaters.
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