So, thought we’d stop announcing new exciting stuff once the festival sold out? Think again.
Green Man is proud to present the UK première of a film that nearly never was. Almost four decades after it was first made, this is the strange tale of Bird On A Wire – a remarkably candid documentary captured across all 20 concerts of Leonard Cohen’s 1972 European Tour.
We’re rolling out the Green Carpet and converting the “Far Out Tent,” into a 2000 capacity cinema on Thursday night, as Wales and the Green Man host the UK première of this astonishing portrait of an uncompromising artist in his prime – as it was meant to be seen and heard in all it’s undiminished glory.
Tony Palmer Director and Editor “The film is precious to me and the venue for its first public screening vitally important, so when someone like Fiona asked me to première Bird on a Wire at Green Man and explained that it would be shown in a large circus tent in the beautiful welsh mountains, how could I possibly resist.”
A hitherto unseen insight into the world of one of music’s genuine geniuses, this near-mythical piece of musical history was hijacked and hacked up upon its completion.
Reluctantly lost from director Tony Palmer’s hands, artistic wrangling and massive editorial cuts mean Bird On A Wire has never been seen as its makers intended.
Now, having languished in the vaults for 38 years, the original film has been salvaged, restored and pieced back together through a huge labour of love (and just a little luck) – and you can see it first at Green Man.
Director Tony Palmer, who has previously made films with The Beatles, Cream, Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa, said: “Maybe what is valuable about the film today is not only that it contains 17 of Cohen’s greatest songs performed by him in his prime, it has a real feel for the rough and tumble and difficulties of life on the road.
“I know of few other films where the backstage confusion comes so vividly to life, with Cohen apparently taking no notice whatsoever of the camera. I doubt if today we would be allowed such access.
“The songs are haunting, unforgettably so. The poetry is extraordinary. But so is the man. Looking back after 38 years, my admiration for Cohen remains undiminished. The original film was made with love – I hope that quality once again shines through the restored film.”
Bird On A Wire promises to be a real treat not just for Cohen’s fans, but for anyone with even a passing interest in music, poetry and cinema.
Producer Stephen Machat, whose late father the famous industry stalwart Marty Machat managed the star until his death in 1988, added: “This film is the culmination of an epic journey. My father cajoled Leonard into documenting his tour even though Leonard didn’t want to. But my father could see what it would mean. At the time, I had no idea why he was interested in doing this. But on viewing the beautiful film that Tony has put together, I see it and feel it.”
This UK exclusive will take place on the Thursday night of this year’s festival – an extra special treat for all you Holiday Campers and early arrivals. What better way to raise the curtain on what promises to be our best-ever festival?
You can read the full incredible story of how Bird On A Wire was rescued from the cutting room floor in an exclusive in-depth feature in this year’s festival programme written by Tony Palmer himself.
This is Green Man after all – so expect the unexpected.