Music fans with tickets for the Green Man Festival are in a for a very rare treat, organisers are rolling out the Green carpet and turning the ‘Far Out Tent’ into a 2,000 capacity cinema on Thursday night (August 19th) for the UK Premiere of the Tony Palmer directed film Bird On A Wire.
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.
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.”
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 the best-ever Green Man festival?
The sold out Green Man Festival takes place in the Glanusk Park, Usk Valley, Powys, Wales from August 19th to August 22nd.