MOUNT BALDY. SPRING 96.

FRANCE 1997


A Film by Armelle Brusq





On the soundtrack:

Waiting for the miracle
Teachers
A thousand kisses deep
Democracy
The Future
Suzanne
Dance me to the end of love
Closing time
Never any good (by Billy Valentine)

This video documentary was produced by Armelle Brusq & Lieurac Productions. The home video is distributed by SMV Enterprises, a division of Sony Music. Cat. and is available in all formats (VHS PAL, VHS NTSC and VHS SECAM).

Armelle Brusq is a young French artist living in Paris. She filmed this 52 min documentary in Spring 1996 on Mt. Baldy and in Los Angeles using a customized camera. The Norwegian television was the first to show it (on March 15, 1997), and later many other TV channels followed.

Leonard Cohen commented from the Mt Baldy Zen Center, his home at that time: The monks up here think it's pretty good. Roshi said to her: "You great artist"

The film describes the daily routines of the Zen monks at the Zen Center of Mt. Baldy: waking up early (2:30 or 3:00 am), marching together to the ceremonies, meditating, making food and eating. We see Cohen working in the kitchen and helping his dear friend and teacher Joshu Sasaki Roshi (90 years at the time of shooting); later he drives with Roshi to another Zen Center (Rinzai Ji) in Los Angeles.

Cohen's cabin with his Technics KN 3000 synthesizer and computers are shown, and he sings his new song A thousand kisses deep. He also recites three unpublished poems, two telling about Roshi (one titled Roshi at 89) . The third was titled Too old.

The camera also visits the office of Stranger Management: Cohen demonstrates his archives (lots of boxes full of notebooks, he shows a poster of his first book Let Us Compare Mythologies and a painting made by Suzanne, the mother of his children). Later a studio session is going on, he is working with Raffi Hakopian (violin) and Leanne Ungar (his sound engineer). Afterwards Cohen and Brusq dine at Canter's.

In this documentary Cohen tells about his life, his memories, why he lives at the Zen Center. He suggests that some kind of a circle has been closed and now he can do something else (see footnote)

The film ends with (I was) Never Any Good (at loving you), a new song written for his next album. He goes to his car and listens to a demo sung by Billy Valentine.


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PS. Never Any Good was released in October 1997 on the More Best of compilation. A later version of A Thousand Kisses Deep is one of the masterpieces on his October 2001 release Ten New Songs. In January 1999 Leonard Cohen decided to move on and left Mt. Baldy. He lives in Los Angeles.

* * *

Update 2009:




The documentary has been released on DVD in France.
The film is in English with French subtitles.
You may order it from www.alapage.com (12,20 eur in June 2009)






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