Leonard Cohen’s 1973 Yom Kippur War concerts to be made into limited drama series
Leonard Cohen's famous 1973 trip to Sinai to perform for Israeli soldiers near the frontlines of the Yom Kippur War is being turned into a television limited drama. Variety reports that the series will be based on Matti Friedman's 2022 book Who by Fire: Leonard Cohen in the Sinai, that featured sections of an unpublished Cohen manuscript where he details he decision to stage the concert. Here's the official synopsis:
In October 1973 the poet and singer Leonard Cohen – 39 years old, famous, unhappy, and at a creative dead end – traveled to the Sinai desert and inserted himself into the chaos and blood of the Yom Kippur War. Moving around the front with a guitar and a pick-up team of local musicians, Cohen dived headlong into a global crisis and met hundreds of fighting men and women at the worst moment of their lives. Cohen’s audience knew his songs might be the last thing they heard, and those who survived never forgot the experience. The war tour was an electric cultural moment, one that still echoes today, – but a moment that only few knew about, until now.
Who By Fire will be written by Yehonatan Indursky (Shtisel) and produced by Keshet International and Sixty-Six Media. Production is currently set to begin in Israel in 2024. “As a life-long Leonard Cohen fan, I loved Matti Friedman’s brilliant book from the moment I read it,” said Sixty-Six Media's Jill Offman. “With Yehonatan at the helm and with my partners at Keshet, I am very much looking to bringing this his extraordinary story to the screen. I set up Sixty-Six Media looking for undiscovered international stories with universal resonance and it’s an honour to have this as our first project.”
"Who By Fire" is also the name of Cohen's song from his 1974 album, New Skin for the Old Ceremony, which was his first record after visiting Sinai. Listen to that song below.
Pick up Leonard Cohen's Greatest Hits on vinyl in the BV shop.