By Hayden Wright
Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker was shortlisted for a 2017 Polaris Music Prize, and the Canadian awards presenters premiered an animated video for Cohen’s “Leaving the Table,” which is now widely available. In the clip, director Christopher Mills wanted to share a dreamlike, euphoric interpretation of the afterlife, which depicts the late folk icon dancing, leaping and creating art.
“The idea kinda came from the ‘lightness’ that I imagined Mr. Cohen would be feeling right about now,” Mills told Billboard. “I really loved thinking about him celebrating this new journey by dancing around in the clouds, and visiting his old haunts, playing around with all the weird and cool stuff you could probably do, once you ‘cross over’ into another plane.”
The video’s visuals draw from painting and collage to show Cohen in cityscapes and natural settings, working at his typewriter and strumming a guitar. Mills’ captured the video’s look through digital editing and some manual art-making.
“[I] handpainted a number of the sets, pieces, and characters, but then also went and shot some stuff that I knew I wanted to paste into the scenes,” he said. “I have this place I love going to at the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario), where it’s just above the treeline there, and I always thought about how cool it’d be to get a hover-belt or something, and do a whole dance routine.”
The Cohen video arrived soon after his son Adam announced a tribute concert in Canada on November 6, featuring Elvis Costello, Lana del Rey and more.
Yesterday, this year’s Polaris Prize was presented to Lido Pimienta for her album La Papessa.
Watch the whimsical, evocative Leonard Cohen video for “Leaving the Table” here: