The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, February 15-21

nyc repertory cinema-ladies and gentlemen mr leonard cohen

Ladies and Gentlemen… Mr. Leonard Cohen (1965)
Directed by Donald Brittain and Don Owen
To treat his neuroses and rejuvenate his spirit, unparalleled poet and novelist Leonard Cohen would often return home to Montreal, each trip a mix of self-preservation and asylum. Though Cohen was raised in a well-to-do Jewish family with ties in the garment industry, his Canadian voyages consisted of chiaroscuro verse readings, smoke-filled bistros, snowglobed parks and three-dollar-a-night hotel rooms—the perfect cocktail for a selfless thirty-year-old on the rise. Don Owen and Donald Brittain’s film was released in four short years after Cohen was in Cuba during the Bay of Pigs, and two years before his debut as a musical artist—though the writer had already begun his lifelong obsessions against violence, with the love and admiration of women and, foremost, achieving the homeostasis of one’s soul. We get a glimpse of photos of Marianne and Leonard’s life tucked away in Greece, though this Cohen is otherworldly, a man whose charisma hangs over each of his conversations like a suspended feather—perpetually looming and observing but never quite reaching the ground where everyone else walks. Samantha Vacca (February 17, 7pm; February 18, 9pm at Anthology Film Archives’s Cohen tribute)

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