Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

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neo
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by neo » Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:58 pm

I got my copy today from leonardcohencafe. Thank you very much Vince!
I'm still too blown away after watching this for the first time to post any lenghty comment or analysis. Just this: it is a beautiful film! Thanks to Tony Palmer and everyone involved for making this release happen!
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by neo » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:01 pm

mnkyface wrote:
lightning wrote:And didn't the girl try to pick him up and get turned down politely?
I've, erm, analyzed this scene at length, and I really think Leonard did not turn her down. She drops the ball, big time. He is receptive to her but there is a serious language gap and she is ultimately too concerned about her entourage. He says "I don't have any plans [for later]" and she thinks he is saying "place." He says "no, I don't have any place either- do you have a place for me?" Obviously he means a hotel room and she says "yes, a lot." At this point she could have stopped batting her eyes and giggling and dragged him out of there. They talk about a drink- and he says "but just YOU- I can't make it with all these people." Again she just giggles. He grows politely impatient with her at the end and sends her on her way, but there was definitely a window of opportunity that she let close for whatever reason. The mind boggles. :roll: :lol:

What's really interesting is the guy who comes along right after. I can't really hear him but I think he is saying something like "hey man she really wanted you", and is still trying to make it happen. He gets my vote for creepiest wingman.

The guy standing next to Cohen and the girl is the Austrian singer Udo Jürgens. He can be seen in the next scene too.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Udo_Jürgens
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by mnkyface » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:29 pm

neo wrote:The guy standing next to Cohen and the girl is the Austrian singer Udo Jürgens. He can be seen in the next scene too.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Udo_Jürgens
yeah- I'm talking about the other guy though- the squirrely one in glasses who is still trying to hook Leonard up. He really seems to care.:lol: :lol:
"In this world of shallow, he is the abyss."~ YouTube commenter greg450318
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neo
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by neo » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:41 pm

No, I didn't mean that pimp. :lol:
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mnkyface
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by mnkyface » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:47 pm

neo wrote:No, I didn't mean that pimp. :lol:
Thank you, that's the word I was looking for! :lol:
"In this world of shallow, he is the abyss."~ YouTube commenter greg450318
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Lyon, July 2008 / Oakland x2, April 2009 / San Jose, November 2009 / Oakland, December 2010 / San Jose, November 2012 / Oakland, March 2013
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by mutti » Sat Sep 11, 2010 6:15 am

a friend on Saltspring Island BC sent me this today...from the Toronto Globe and Mail..
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/art ... le1701672/
Mutti ;-)
1988 Vancouver
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2010 Sligo x 2/Victoria/Vancouver/Portland/Las Vegas x 2.
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2013 Oakland x 2/New York City x 2/Winnipeg...
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Puddingdale
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by Puddingdale » Sat Sep 11, 2010 11:55 am

Finally watched this! :D (No problems with the DVD player whatsoever, by the way.) And it surely met my expectations. What an unusually intimate portrait - we will probably never again get a closer look at LC (body and soul :lol: ), assuming that neither Issermann nor Lorca Cohen has secretly gathered similar material during the ongoing tour (kidding).
It was good to finally see the whole film in acceptable quality and at the same time strange to have my brain continuously compare the scenes and camera angles with the bootleg. There were so many tiny differences that said bootleg will still remain valuable to me. Of course, the film offered lots of scenes that I hadn't seen before - especially the various new impressions from LC's childhood were surprising (although even Palmer could not resist including the tricycle ;-) ).
However, The Story of Isaac seemed inappropriate to me (as to so many others who even closed their eyes.) I see why Palmer included that footage and generally I have nothing against confronting people with the harsh truth. However it seems disrespectful to the dead and their relatives to use their images for sheer effect in a documentary about some singer-songwriter. Other more reverent images would have done. I know what is shown is the way it was like and that what man does to man during a war is not a pretty sight, but I sure would not want my relatives to be shown that way in anything but a documentary on war.
I wonder whether Palmer was asked about these scenes in Krakow. Did he make some statement on his choice there?
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by neo » Sat Sep 11, 2010 1:30 pm

I find it interesting that the scenes of The Story of Isaac are discussed that much. I'm glad that Tony Palmer did use them and did not drop them from the restored version.
Maybe scenes like that were the inspiration for that song, at least they illustrate what the song really is about.
Too bad political correctness has streamlined corporate media and the pictures shown there that much that everything than embedded journalism seems to be too much for the general public.

Remember, that there's a war between the ones who say there is a war and the ones who say there isn't...
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by Puddingdale » Sat Sep 11, 2010 1:59 pm

neo wrote:Too bad political correctness has streamlined corporate media and the pictures shown there that much that everything than embedded journalism seems to be too much for the general public.
I am not sure if you understood me correctly. In general, I agree that pictures of war should not be kept from the public - people need to see to understand. But Palmer's documentary does not have the purpose to inform people about the cruelties of war. Its purpose is to draw a picture of an artist and the main purpose in the war scenes only seems to shock the viewers, especially since they are so incongruent with the style of the rest of the documentary. They are not necessary to make people see what The Story of Isaac really is about - on the contrary: where in these pictures do you clearly see parents sacrificing their children to war? I think the scenes rather put the focus away from LC and his song than enlightening it. Besides, who really paid attention to the lyrics when he saw the pictures for the first time?
Still, I am not worried about the viewers' feelings really - they have to learn to face the awful truth - but I care about the people depicted in the scenes who might feel hurt and see it as an abuse of their feelings if they ever got to see the documentary. Such pictures should be used to teach us to fight war, be abhorred by it, cry for the victims etc. But not to enlighten us about a singer and his song.
You see, I assume that Palmer wanted to do the latter. Of course, if his purpose really was the former, fine. However, I still think that Bird On A Wire was the wrong vehicle for that and such a "noble" aim will be lost in an otherwise totally Cohen-centric film.
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by neo » Sat Sep 11, 2010 3:37 pm

I think I understood you very well, and I wanted to point to a different kind of view of things.
I guess the general public then was more used too see these kind of things on tv every day and in those times people did not distinguish between life, politics and art in that way. Or to be more precise, some artists did try to overcome the separation of life and art. In my view Tony Palmer and Cohen were artists of that kind.
It was Palmers aesthetic decision to illustrate The Story of Isaac and Cohens statement "about those who sacrifice one generation on behalf of another" that way. Of course his aesthetic views about it now and then (if they differ anyhow) would be interesting to hear.

I can't speak for the victims of war, just for myself and I think I wouldn't mind pictures of my relatives being shown. I would be more worried if circulation of the pictures would be restricted or they would be less shown and forgotten. But of course we'll never really know how these victims feel about that matter. (By the way hat would be an interesting topic for a film...)

I'm glad, that Palmer did stay true to his original concept and did not re-edit those scenes. And sometimes it is as cruel to watch Cohen wrestle with his art, his demons, the music industry (whichever view you prefer) and to witness his soul on fire is sometimes just as intense as to see the burning napalm on the bodies.
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by Puddingdale » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:05 pm

So, it seems it was I who misunderstood you a bit. Thanks for your opinion and the insight on the way these issues were dealt with in former times. Whatever I think on the topic of respect for the dead, I certainly would not have wanted Palmer to change his original editing due to the twisted tastes of our times. And I agree that probably it is better to show these pictures to an unexpecting audience than to forget them at all.
And yes, LC'S opinion on that as well as the one of victims would be interesting - and indeed a topic for another documentary. Not to forget Palmer's own opinion - maybe he made a statement on his choice there after all? Or maybe he will at some point. Let's wait and see.
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by lightning » Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:20 pm

Tony Palmer has said he feels it's an artist's responsibility to address the important issues of his day and wants to show Cohen as "responsible" as Dylan was in his "Masters of War" phase. Cohen is usually not thought of as a political poet or a political force, "neither left nor right".."the wars, they will be fought again"-- the political progressives would object to lines like this. So perhaps Tony Palmer wants to show a younger more idealistic Cohen in a different light when he felt a need to make an anti-war statement and object to the violence in the Old Testament he was raised on.
People on this forum should also see Tony Palmer's 1968 classic film "All My Loving" where he also spoils everybody's rock concert by making them face up to the harsh realities of the war going on outside.
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by Puddingdale » Sat Sep 11, 2010 6:07 pm

Thank you, lightning. So it all makes sense in Palmer's body of work... :)
However, there are enough people who see Cohen as political even nowadays (Anthem e.g.). One ex-colleague of mine even accused LC of being a terrorist and refused to talk about his songs because of First We Take Manhattan :lol: Well, well.
To get back to the original topic: all in all, Palmer's film is a gift! I guess we all agree on that ;-)
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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by neo » Sat Sep 11, 2010 6:13 pm

Puddingdale wrote:And yes, LC'S opinion on that as well as the one of victims would be interesting - and indeed a topic for another documentary. Not to forget Palmer's own opinion - maybe he made a statement on his choice there after all? Or maybe he will at some point. Let's wait and see.
Some of these topics would have been perfect for an extra chapter of this DVD including an interview with the director and some comments by Cohen himself... That could have explained more of the historical and artistic context.
But I'm not complaining. I'm glad that this film was released after so many years.

lightning wrote:Cohen is usually not thought of as a political poet or a political force, "neither left nor right".."the wars, they will be fought again"-- the political progressives would object to lines like this.
It's true those quotes could lead you into the wrong direction, but Cohen's politics are more sublime.
And we have to remember that in those days rock concerts were much more a political statement in itself as they were gatherings of counterculture, sometimes rare occasions to meet a larger crowd of likeminded people.


I was thinking that maybe those pictures of war are a bit more disturbing today than they were then. This may sound ridiculous at first, but there is an awful truth hiding behind what we get to see these days:

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Re: Tony Palmer presents "Bird on a wire"

Post by neo » Sat Sep 11, 2010 6:17 pm

Puddingdale wrote:One ex-colleague of mine even accused LC of being a terrorist and refused to talk about his songs because of First We Take Manhattan :lol: Well, well.
:lol:

I always thought there has to be a reason, why Cohen does not include "There's a War" in his setlists today... :lol:
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