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Diving deep into the legend's musical,
poetic and religious influences

Leonard Cohen - Leonard Cohen's Lonesome Heroes
DVD Review

3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Sept. 22, 2010
Leonard Cohen

Review by Andy Argyrakis

He may be knocking at the door of 76, but Leonard Cohen is just as vital as a songwriter and performer as he was when starting out in the late 1960s troubadour movement. Thanks in part to an international tour throughout 2008 that reconnected the enduring legend with the masses, not to mention covers of his cuts by everyone from Jeff Buckley to Bono to Don Henley, additional interest has been piqued in both his career and personal life. Rather than retracing his steps from underground appreciation to unsuspecting fame like a typical documentary, Leonard Cohen's Lonesome Heroes seeks to unveil a vast array of influences on the veteran's vast body of work as a whole.

While the subject's music certainly takes center stage in the analysis (including mentions of obvious muse Bob Dylan or the less overt Ray Charles and several classic country greats), there's also plenty about his early poetic fascinations (Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg), along with the devout religious affiliations that often shaped his writing (including Judaism and Buddhism). As a result, it's no surprise to see sources as varied as fellow performer Judy Collins (whose often covered his songs), biographers Ira Nadel and Stephen Scobie, Buddhist monk/Cohen mentor Kigen and Rolling Stone contributing editor Anthony DeCurtis.

Given the unauthorized nature of this film, there's nothing other than a few brief news or concert clips from the man himself, though unlike most collections of this nature, the sources are arguably even more obsessive and articulate about Cohen than perhaps the star himself. In other words, expect plenty of in-depth interviews and observations spanning common knowledge (though still enlightening) commentaries through truly revealing assessments that valiantly attempt to sort out the enigmatic genius' innermost creative intentions.

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