Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Video: Leonard Cohen — Happens to the Heart


“Happens To The Heart” is the first official single from the folk legend’s last original and unreleased album, Thanks For The Dance, which has been reimagined for film by award-winning director Daniel Askill.

Known for his transportive and emotionally-charged visual storytelling, Askill pairs Cohen’s resonant baritone poetry with the physical and emotional undressing of a young explorer who finds spiritual catharsis after meeting a mysterious monk in the woods. 

“I wanted to make something that spoke to Leonard’s years as a zen monk,” says the director, who was inspired by the musician’s dedication to Buddhism and the five years Cohen spent living at California’s Mount Baldy Zen Center. “This film is a quiet, symbolic narrative that charts the letting go of ego and the trappings of fame.” 

Running time: 5 minutes


Leonard Norman Cohen (September 21, 1934 – November 7, 2016) was a Canadian singer, songwriter, poet, and novelist. His work explored religion, politics, isolation, sexuality, and romantic relationships. Cohen was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was invested as a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation’s highest civilian honour. In 2011, Cohen received one of the Prince of Asturias Awards for literature and the ninth Glenn Gould Prize.

A posthumous album titled Thanks for the Dance was released in November 2019 as his fifteenth studio album.

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