Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire
Palmer's film is that rare concert doc that isn't for established fans only.
"Leolo" is an enchanting, disgusting, romantic, depressing, hilarious, tragic movie, and it is quite original - one of the year's best. I have never seen one like it before. It cannot be assigned a category, or described in terms of other films. I felt alive when I was watching it. If you are one of those lonely film lovers who used to attend foreign films, who used to seek out the off-beat and the challenging, and who has given up on movies because they all seem the same, crawl out of your bunker and go to see this one. It will remind you that movies can be wonderful.
Directed by Jean-Claude Lauzon, a young nonconformist from Quebec, it tells the story of the young manhood of Leo, who grows up in an insanely dysfunctional but colorful and not altogether harmful family in Montreal. Leo despises his father, so much so that he has created a fantasy in which his mother was somehow impregnated by a tomato from Sicily, which bore the sperm of the man he imagines was his real father. Leo insists he is therefore Italian, and should be called Leolo.
The film is narrated by him, in a sense. In fact, the narration comes out of a journal he keeps as a child, a journal that falls into other hands some years later - into the hands of an old man who treasures the written word, and plunders garbage cans to save it from destruction. This is the same man who once, visiting Leolo's vast and awesomely maternal mother, stopped the kitchen table from tilting by placing an old book under one of the legs - which is how the only book in Leolo's house got there.
Leolo has a way he can dream, and in his dreams he is visited by his muse. The rest of his time is fairly grim. It is believed in his household that a bowel movement a day keeps the doctor away, and so he spends long hours locked in the toilet, making convincing sound effects to cover his other activities, which include reading naughty Parisian magazines, and plotting the murder of his grandfather.