Favorite Streaming Film of the Day : Netflix’s HALLELUJAH : LEONARD COHEN , A JOURNEY, A SONG
I first heard the song HALLELUJAH sung by Jeff Buckley, and I think that is the perfect introduction to this most labored over, and ultimately most beautiful song.
If one can compare a song to a sword in the stone, a sword made (years in the making, the forging) by LEONARD Cohen, it was then shaped and sharpened beautifully by arranger/producer John Lissauer, championed and kept alive by Bob Dylan, reforged by LEONARD Cohen into something drastically different, and tempered to its perfect cutting edge, its ultimate form (combining both of Cohen’s versions, the Spiritual and Secular versions) by John Cale of velvet Underground.
The song, with Cale’s cover, his merging of the different versions into one perfect version, the lyrics were now perfect, the song was now perfect, the sword was now perfect. It waited only for the right person to pull it all the way from the stone.
The perfect song, waited for the perfect voice, Excalibur waited patiently for the coming of the boy King.
It waited for Jeff Buckley.
And Jeff Buckley pulled it from the stone, and King met sword. His version is still for me, with the hundreds of people who have covered it since, Buckley’s is the definitive version, it is a moment of grace… captured… distilled.
And I will always be thankful for Leonard Cohen birthing this song, a song that has outlived all those who made it sing. But we have those songs, and we have the story of Leonard Cohen in this documentary, Hallelulah being very much his changing spiritual and humanistic journey over time, but more it speaks to all of our journeys to find… if we be human… to find a moment of grace. And all the lives that he has touched with his song writing and his life, all the lives and artists that have been caught up in this cry… this broken Hallelujah.
I watched this documentary, and Hallelujah sung by Jeff Buckley is one of my favorite songs, (I generally judge people by whether or not they own Jeff Buckley’s GRACE Album on CD), and I found myself learning a lot about how that song came to be, its progress toward the Boy King, and its life since the fall of that same King.
I learned of the life of LEONARD Cohen, of his journey, of his yearning toward, striving toward… what great art always strives for…. moments of grace. A gift of grace.
I do not think I am an overly emotional person, not on the surface. But somethings touch me deeply. The striving in a world full of pain, to create however fleeting a balm toward pain, toward isolation, toward fear, toward the search… to create art with a capital ‘A’… the sacrifice that takes… the courage that takes… moves me deeply.
I felt while watching this documentary, by the time i came to the end of it, something wet out of my left eye, and my nose was running, and it was stupidly a long time before I understood i had something to say… i opened my mouth, not sure what waited there… i thought it might be a scream, but there was no noise, no noise… there was just a cold and broken Hallelujah.
I desperately want this documentary (by directors/producers daniel geller and dayna goldfine, and released by sony classics) on DVD or Blu-ray. It deserves more than the impermanence of streaming.
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“It is a cold and broken Hallelujah”
“You look around and you see a world that is impenetrable, that cannot be made sense of. You either raise your fist,, or you say ‘Hallelujah’.
I try to do both.”