Written by Pernille Jørgensen
Leonard Cohen’s video for Leaving The Table shows an animation of the singer during Polaris Music Prize Award Ceremony.
It’s been nearly a year since Leonard Cohen’s last album You Want It Darker came out, only 19 days before his untimely death. The album was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize and the ceremony took place last Monday night. Usually, the nominated artists perform at the gala but for this album, the video for ’Leaving The Table, had its debut instead.
The peaceful tone in the song is reflected in the calm images of the video. It opens with an animated version of the Canadian singer and poet sitting on a cross, a reference to the cross on Mount Royal, overlooking his hometown of Montreal. We then see him floating through the air, in and out of different scenes from his life before he finally returns to sitting on the cross overlooking the city.
The traditional symbol of the cross might make it tempting to read the video as Christian message, but Cohen himself was born Jewish and became a Buddhist Monk in the 90’s, although his lyrics continued to reveal his Jewish heritage.
The biblical references heard in many of his songs are not present on Leaving The Table and it seems to be more inspired by Buddhism. Similarly to Buddha’s golden road to enlightenment, which he found after having gone from being a wealthy prince living an extravagant life and to an ascetic life in solitude, Cohen’s life is portrayed as a pendulum between the solitude of writing, to scenes of nightlife and to the lonely singer behind his microphone.
Although Cohen did not win the award, his legacy and name formed an important part of the night. Other contenders for the title included BADBADNOTGOOD, Leif Vollebekk’s Twin Solitude and Feist. It was Colombian-Canadian singer, Lido Pimienta, that took the award and was presented by last year’s winner; Kaytranada.
Watch the impressive video below: