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British Programme in SIFF 2011 – Special Screenings: BIRD ON A WIRE

март 9, 2011

No, it’s not the 1990 action movie starring Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn – it is Tony Palmer’s legendary documentary on the Canadian singer/ songwriter Leonard Cohen’s European tour in 1972. The  film Bird on a Wire presents the Leonard’s tour in a light like no other but the guru of musical documentaries himself can do it and this happens “only” 38 years after the movie was originally filmed.

If you wonder why it is released so late, the answer will be long. In a recent interview for the Guardian, Tony Palmer explains that back in 1972, during the post-production, Leonard Cohen declared that he looked too raw and wasted in the film and  the director then said to him the words, later on regretted so much: “Leonard, here is the material. See what you can do to make it less confrontational.”

Two years later, Leonard’s second version came out but it was shown for one night  only in theatres and later hardly ever appeared on TV. On the other hand, Tony Palmer’s original version disappeared mysteriously and was never released until just last year.

Then how did the footage appear? According to Tony Palmer, while working on the restoration of 200 Motels, Frank Zappa’s manager discovered by accident 296 rusted boxes of film reel in a TV warehouse in the beginning of 2010. After some weeks of hesitation, the Palmer started putting them on the viewing machine and among them found the original soundtrack from the concerts. Thus, Palmer  started working  once again and from over 3000 fragments of film, he succeeded after six months of editing, to make once again his own original version of the documentary about Leonard Cohen’s tour around Europe in 1972.

To Palmer’s surprise the tickets for the film screenings around the world were sold out for weeks in advance. So, even if you haven’t heard of Leonard Cohen, Bird on a Wire is a must-see-movie, directed by the brilliant music documentary mind Tony Palmer, which will definitely make you fall in love with Leonard’s voice and exquisite lyrics.

Programme:

08.03.2011, Cinema House – 22:30

09.03.2011, Lumiere – 18:00

 

 

 

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