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Tony Palmer · UK · 1974 · 106 mins · Not Rated
IMDbRotten Tomatoes

Once thought lost, this is an essential chronicle of Leonard Cohen on tour of Europe in 1972. The film captures the singer/songwriter at the height of his fame; it’s an all-too-rare look at the personality behind all the famous songs. Whether you are a fan of the tunes or of documentaries in general, this one is a definite must-see.  Includes "Suzanne," "Who By Fire," "Chelsea Hotel," "Sisters of Mercy," "Famous Blue Raincoat," the title track, and many more. Highly Recommended.  --DVD Talk

Cohen objected to the documentary’s final cut and after personally re-editing it himself, it received one showing before disappearing without trace. The long lost 16mm prints were found 38 years later and restored for this release, not seen since 1972.

The film is a visual match for Cohen’s music itself: there is achingly beautiful footage of Cohen singing at the peak of his powers, lit and framed so as to look like a renaissance painting. Yet in watching him sing, you see more of the soul of this unique, enigmatic artist than any fly-on-the-wall footage could ever reveal. This unique and beautiful documentary is finally getting the audience it deserves.

--Vancouver Jewish Film Festival

"Bird on a Wire is a time capsule of a specific period in Cohen's career. But it also neatly illustrates the singer's personality in an accessible and compelling way."
"Nobody's ever really themselves on camera, but when Palmer zooms in on Cohen's tear-streaked face, Bird on a Wire feels like an honest portrait of a man just barely hanging on." SF Weekly
Cast Leonard Cohen, Donna Washburn, Ron Cornelius
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