Bird on a Wire

Co-presented by Don’t Knock the Rock

The world grew a bit dimmer with the passing of the great Leonard Cohen. Nowhere is his dogged pursuit of grace more perfectly captured than Tony Palmer’s incredible, long lost Bird on a Wire. Following Cohen’s trouble-ridden 1972 European tour, Palmer was given absolute access to his most intimate moments, backstage flirtations, and distress and doubt as the concerts were beset by difficulties. Yet through it all beams Cohen’s intoxicating allure and by the time the film reaches its triumphant climax, as he performs an emotional, holy-like show in Israel, what results is ultimately a film about redemption – one which impeccably embodies the spirit of his poetry. Filled with performances of some of his best loved songs, buried for years and only recently exhumed, Bird on a Wire is not only one of the great tour documentaries, it stands as a perfect paean to the man who wrote, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

Dir. Tony Palmer, 1972, digital presentation, 106 min.

Preceded by Angel. Dir Derek May, 1966, 35mm, 6 min.