SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL – HALLELUJAH: LEONARD COHEN, A JOURNEY, A SONG

Rating: MA15+
Length: 115 mins

Fresh from its Venice premiere, the definitive exploration of singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen seen through the prism of his iconic song ‘Hallelujah’. A cinematic version of Song Exploder.

The journey of ‘Hallelujah’ from the page to the stage was long and winding. The Montreal-born poet-troubadour took at least seven years to write his now-classic song. His record company, Columbia, declined to release his 1984 Various Positions album, which included ‘Hallelujah’. So, a little-known indie took it on, but the album failed to thrive. Cohen took the song on the road, progressively shifting the lyrics from the sacred towards the profane. Over time, other musicians performed the piece, from John Cale to Jeff Buckley, each with their own interpretation. Packed full of performances from Cohen’s career, alongside interviews with Cohen, the likes of music journo Larry ‘Ratso’ Sloman, and singers from Judy Collins to Rufus Wainwright (who sang the song on the Shrek soundtrack). This charming and insightful documentary will have you singing all the way home.