This fascinating documentary offers an explanatory, interpretative and creative dive into “Hallelujah”, a play forever synonymous with Leonard Cohen.
Impossible to read or pronounce the word “Hallelujah” without immediately having in mind the superb melody of Leonard Cohen. Taken up by everyone – Bob Dylan, John Cale and Jeff Buckley are the first, Bono, Bon Jovi followed as well as the team of… “Shrek” in a version expurgated of any “sensitive” content – this composition makes intimately part of our culture and our life.
Directors Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine patiently go back in time, interviewing people who knew Leonard Cohen and who witnessed the Montrealer's compositions. Included in the “Various Positions” album that the Columbia record company had not wanted to release in North America, “Hallelujah” nevertheless managed to find its way to us, to the point of being constantly covered. – especially in television singing competitions.
Thanks to interviews, including several with Leonard Cohen, we learn how the piece was composed, the lyrics written, kept or deleted by the composer, their meaning, innuendo. The music lover will also discover the context of the composition which spanned 10 years, the directors also following Cohen's career.
And today? “It's a separate entity now,” said Brandi Carlile. “The song has become a person in its own right. She has her own life. People love it for their weddings, engagements, and darker times” while we see footage from Jack Layton's funeral, where Steven Page performed “Hallelujah.”
Rating: 4 out of 5