Video: Hunt for the Wilderpeople Features Leonard Cohen Performance Of “The Partisan”


The role of Leonard Cohen’s rendition of “The Partisan” in the positively-reviewed Hunt for the Wilderpeople is described in this excerpt from Deep Focus: Hunt for the Wilderpeople by Michael Sragow (Film Comment: June 23, 2016):

We know we’re in good hands from the opening moments, when the New Zealand greenery undulates across the screen while an otherworldly choral chant fills the soundtrack. Even Child Welfare’s Paula seems to tap her pen in counterpoint to the music. The whole movie has an eccentric rhythm because this director is confident enough to let scenes sit and breathe before accelerating his narrative with peppy deadpan montages. In one charged sequence, timed to Leonard Cohen’s “Song of the French Partisan,” Waititi unfolds the action in the cinematic equivalent of a mural. Via some optical and/or digital wizardry, the camera doesn’t stop moving from left to right as we see Hec, Ricky, and Tupac disappear into the snowy forest while bounty hunters, cops, and guardsmen trail them and Paula huffs and scowls eloquently, at different times and without a cut. It’s startling when the paths of heavily armed lawmen and Paula intersect. It’s as if time and space have merged kinetically. [bolding mine]


Note: Most of this was previously posted on this site in June. At that time, however, the film clip was not available.

Leonard Cohen, Humphrey Bogart, Margaret Atwood, Others Play Roles In YesNo Film


YesNo & Leonard Cohen

While he was recovering from his back injury and preparing for the consequently deferred July start of the 2010 Tour, Leonard Cohen signed on as a voice actor, along with Michael Ondaatje, Margaret Atwood,  and others,  in YesNo, a seven-minute English-language short based on the book of poetry by Dennis Lee.

These excerpts from BDJ Films describe the video:

YESNO is a playful view of a planet on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Humphrey Bogart meets Werner Herzog in the heart of darkness. A conjurer shuffles bison, emu and orca in a game of extinction. Leonard Cohen voices a last tango over a flood of images that mix live action and animation, poetry and music, calligraphy and DNA …

Based on the 2006 book Yesno, by eminent Canadian poet Dennis Lee, this seven-minute film takes an new approach to transforming poetry into cinema. Dennis Lee’s words are voiced by a pantheon of Canadian poets, including Lenard Cohen, Michael Ondaatje, Margaret Atwood, D’bi Young, Karen Solie, and Lee himself. Jiving between hope and despair, and between dark comedy and tender pathos, an apocalyptic suite takes us from the folds of the cerebral cortex to the jungles of Fitzcarraldo and The African Queen. Sleight-of-hand by conjurer DAVID BEN forms the connective tissue. The original score/soundscape comes from award-winning composer Owen Belton, who has created music for the National Ballet of Canada (Emergence). The director of photography is Nicholas De Pencier (Act of God). The animation director is Nick Fox-Gieg, who won the award for best animated short (The Orange) at the 2010 SXSW film festival. Yesno was produced, directed and edited by Brian D. Johnson, veteran film critic at Maclean’s magazine.

Video: YesNo

The video is cued to begin at the point Leonard Cohen takes the role of narrator. Video by


Credit Due Department:  Thanks go to Jo Meul, whose reminder about this film prompted its reposting.

Note: Originally posted Aug 22, 2012 at, a predecessor of

How Leonard Cohen’s “amazing reading” of Necropsy of Love in Al Purdy Was Here came about


Update: Hear Leonard Cohen Recite Al Purdy’s “Necropsy of Love”

This excerpt is from Q&A: Brian D. Johnson offers a refresher course in the work of Al Purdy by Shawn Conner, Vancouver Sun: Jan 29.2016)

Q: Another impressive moment is when we hear Leonard Cohen.

A: It’s kind of the piece de resistance. It’s an amazing reading of what is really my favourite Al Purdy poem, Necropsy of Love, which is about sex and death. Which is right in Leonard’s wheelhouse. I didn’t send him that poem right away. I sent him a much more canonical poem, The Country North of Belleville, to read, thinking that would be historic. Leonard sent me back a message saying that he didn’t quite understand the poem, and he couldn’t pronounce all of these Scottish names. He said, “Maybe if you sent me a recording of Al reading it, I could figure out how to pronounce the names.” And I wrote him back and said, “Leonard, if the poem doesn’t speak to you I’m not going to ask you to read it.” I said, “I’ll find something else.” The reason I didn’t send him Necropsy of Love in the first place was I thought it was a little too close to home. I though it sounded exactly like a Leonard Cohen poem. But sometimes the obvious thing is the best thing. And he responded, “Yeah, I think I can take a crack at this.”

Leonard Cohen’s Music Makes A Scene: 8 Excellent Cinematic Moments Set To Leonard Cohen Tunes


8 Excellent Cinematic Moments Set to Leonard Cohen Tunes by Monika Bartyzel (Film School Rejects: Sept 25, 2014) considers the impact of Leonard Cohen’s contributions to the soundtracks of not only the usual suspects such as McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Pump Up The Volume, and Natural Born Killers but also a number of less frequently examined specimens, including Secretary, True Love and Chaos, and Beware of a Holy Whore. Highly recommended. The following is excerpted from the opening of the article:

Nearly half a century since he sung about Suzanne, Cohen’s career has been beautifully long, spanning vastly different worlds, and evolving through the years without being felled by the indecipherable mumbles of his contemporary, Bob Dylan. His poetic lyrics ruminate on everything from love and passion to religion and politics, sold through the man in the suit and fedora, but extending far beyond his shadow’s reach, especially in the realms of cinema. Where other artists enjoy surges and disappearances, their music only returned to when the passage of time makes then wildly affordable, Cohen’s presence in film has been almost constant, spanning everything from silent foreign films to bloody Hollywood blockbusters. It’s music and sentiments that might seem straightforward superficially, yet have an uncanny knack of seamlessly sliding into any scenario it faces, regardless of the format or generation. What follows are eight of the best uses of his work in film – one for every decade of his poetic life.

The The full article, which can be accessed at 8 Excellent Cinematic Moments Set to Leonard Cohen Tunes, reviews scenes from Beware of a Holy Whore, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Pump Up The Volume, Natural Born Killers, Exotica, True Love and Chaos, Secretary, and Take This Waltz with commentary and videos.

Note: Originally posted September 26, 2014 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen’s “Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye” Featured In “Transparent”

Excerpted from The Best Music Moments of ‘Transparent’ by Wondering Sound Staff Contributor (Wondering Sound: Nov 3, 2014)

Leonard Cohen, “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye” (Episode 9)

In a ranking of best-named songs to fit plot points, this is easily the most brilliant. In Episode 9 (Looking Up), Shelly’s second husband Ed (Lawrence Pressman) is in a coma and Shelly is in agony waiting for him to die, as her kids are all too selfish to realize she needs help and is lonely, and Maura is the only one there to comfort her. While the Pfeffermans are in the kitchen plotting to off him with Percoset (save for Ali, who’s disgusted and the only one who’s shown any concern for Ed), we see Ed pull himself out of his bed and plunge toward the front door to escape. Then we cut to a scene early in Ed and Shelly’s relationship, where he tells a joke involving Alzheimer’s and the clap, and he says with a smile, “I’m just here to make you happy.” Ed raises his glass with a toast of “l’chaim” (“to life” in Hebrew), and “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye” by Leonard Cohen plays through the credits. It’s a sweet ode to Ed, who, while unable to speak in the present day, has always come across as endearing (when he escaped early in the show, he returned with a caricature and cotton candy), even though Shelly wrote him off as a pain in her ass. “Yes many loved before us, I know that we are not new/ in city and in forest they smiled like me and you,” Cohen sings, “But let’s not talk of love or chains and things we can’t untie/ your eyes are soft with sorrow/ Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye.” — L.L.

Leonard Cohen – Hey That`s No Way To Say Goodbye


Leonard Cohen’s So Long, Marianne On 2016 Pete’s Dragon Soundtrack

Petes-Dragon-PosterWhile not a musical like the original Pete’s Dragon (1977), the 2016 Disney reboot offers a massive soundtrack with offerings from a talented set of musicians, including So Long, Marianne by Leonard Cohen.

Check out the full track list below:

“The Dragon Song” Performed by Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy
“Something Wild” Performed by Lindsey Stirling featuring Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
“Nobody Knows” Performed by The Lumineers
“Something On Your Mind” Performed by St. Vincent
“So Long, Marianne” Performed by Leonard Cohen
“Gina Anne” Performed by Bosque Brown
“An Adventure”
“Are You Gonna Eat Me?”
“Brown Bunny”
“Tree Fort”
“North Star”
“Bedtime Compass”
“Gavin Knows What He’s Doing”
“You Are Not Alone”
“Elliot Gets Lost”
“It’ll Be Just Like It Used To Be”
“Follow That Dragon”
“Elliot at the Bridge”
“Go North”
“Saying Goodbye”
“The Bravest Boy I’ve Ever Met”
“The Dragon Song Revisited” Performed by Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy
“Candle On the Water” Performed by Okkervil River

Credit Due Department: Thanks to Piotr Wilczewski, who alerted me to this item.