Do you remember the first time you heard Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah? For me, it was 1993 and I was working at a vegan health food store/restaurant in Albuquerque, and one of my coworkers brought in a Leonard Cohen album to listen to while we worked. It was my first time hearing Cohen and I fell in love. Cohen's version of Hallelujah is deeply arresting, as are the many versions that have come after it. My favorite will always be Cohen's, but Rufus Wainwright's is a close second for me. Kate McKinnon's version, as the cold opener to SNL right after the presidential election in November 2016, is also quite spectacular. If you love Cohen, too, and especially Hallelujah, you'll want to watch the new documentary about Cohen and his most famous song that opens tomorrow, July 8, at theaters across the country.
As Jessica Zack writes for the San Francisco Chronicle's Datebook,
At a time when pop singers can dash off a song on their phone, post it online and achieve overnight success, it's astounding to watch Leonard Cohen scribble and revise the lyrics to his famous song "Hallelujah" in notebooks over the course of more than five years in a new documentary by San Francisco filmmakers Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine.
In "Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song" (opening in theaters Friday, July 8), the Emmy-winning co-directors, who are married and live near Alamo Square, trace the unlikely artistic journey of the legendary singer-songwriter's most enduring and widely covered song.
By doing so, their film, which is engaging even for those with only a casual interest in the Canadian troubadour, also becomes a moving portrait of the poet turned musician who was on a lifelong quest to square his spiritual hunger (Cohen spent half a decade living in a Zen monastery) with his secular and sexual longings for connection.
While you wait for the film to debut, you can watch the trailer here.