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Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song

The documentary follows the story behind what is probably Leonard Cohen‘s most well-known song.


HALLELUJAH is about the origin of a modern folk song: directors Danya Goldfine and Dan Geller let their viewers witness how Leonard Cohen‘s “Hallelujah“ became a worldwide phenomenon in the span of a lifetime. The life of Cohen, who died in 2016, builds the framework of the story of a song that has been detached from its author for a long time.

When Jewish-Canadian poet Leonard Cohen first started out as a musician in the early 60s, he was already too old for “the business“ at 32. It was only when he covered the song “Suzanne“ by popular singer Judy Collins that his unusual music career began. The film team interviewed many of his companions, among them his long-time collaborator Sharon Robinson and “Hallelujah“ producer John Lissauer, who also composed the film‘s score. The conversation with photographer Dominique Issermann, who was together with Cohen for a long time and influenced his style with her photographs, offers special insights. She was there when he wrote “Hallelujah“ and finds a fitting metaphor: the song is “like a bird flying across the room that sometimes hits the walls of culture.“ The song received help from musicians like Bob Dylan, John Cale (Velvet Underground) and Jeff Buckley, whose versions have been more popular than the original for a long time. Today, “Hallelujah“ is a Christmas and wedding hit that is a must in church choir repertoires. The documentary shows the song‘s journey but also traces it back to its author. It reminds viewers that what might be the most known “modern prayer“ (as musician Regina Spektor calls it in the film) was linguistically and philosophically made in the Jewish tradition.


Translation: Elinor Lewy


Original title: Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song
USA 2021, 118 min
Language: English
Genre: Documentary, Music Films
Director: Dan Geller, Dayna Goldfine
DOP: Daniel Geller
Music: John Lissauer
Distributor: Prokino
Release: 17.11.2022



  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles
English/with English subtitles
All languages

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