By Penny Johnson, Contributing Author
As part of the Toronto Jewish Film Festival slated to run May 7-15 in Toronto, a nineteen-part Sidebar Series titled “The Three Lennys” will celebrate the lives and careers of Leonard Bernstein (conductor-composer) Lenny Bruce (comedian, social critic and satirist) and Leonard Cohen (singer, songwriter, poet, novelist, and laureate of The Ninth Glenn Gould Prize).
According to Ellie Skrow, Curator of Special Programmes, “The Three Lennys offers a rare opportunity to follow these artists at various stages of their lives and careers – through a series of rarely-screened documentaries, live-in-concert films, shorts and a feature biopic, as well as a live musical component and guest speakers.” Special guests include Alexander Bernstein (son of Leonard Bernstein, and founding Chairman of the Leonard Bernstein Center for Learning) and Kitty Bruce (daughter of Lenny Bruce). “The three ‘Lennys’ are linked, in part, by their mastery of language,” explains Skrow, and the similarities concerning “the role of the artist in the social/political realm.”
In addition to six free screenings, highlights of The Three Lennys include Leonard Cohen: Bird On A Wire (UK, 2010), Night Magic (Canada/France, 1985), The Making of West Side Story (UK/West Germany, 1985) and A Journey to Jerusalem (USA, 1968).