Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love

Nick Broomfield
GB 2019
102 min

The arduous push-and-pull of celebrity and art-making recurs as a central concern in the work of Nick Broomfield, and with his latest feature documentary, a notable strain of romantic sentiment comes to the fore. That is little surprise given that the subject is the relationship between singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen, sparked in the 1960s but ringing out its bittersweet echo across the decades. Cohen’s “So Long Marianne” famously took its inspiration from Ihlen – a Norwegian force in the arts by fostering the creative processes and/or pragmatic needs of free spirits such as Cohen (and documentarian Broomfield himself!).
​Along the way, the film sketches out Cohen’s career as it spans the unlikely (frustrated poet and novelist), the essential (his incomparable place in contemporary song and lyric), the nearly fanciful (the free extremes of the counterculture life on the Greek isle of Hydra, in New York, and beyond, with and without Ihlen). Far from dismissing the idea of the muse in a changing era, Broomfield endeavors to present a warmly faithful picture of Ihlen’s vitality and generosity that includes the pain along with the pleasure of their fraught relationship. (Nicolas Rapold)

  • Marc Hoeferlin
  • Nick Laid-Clowes
Lafayette Films

Kew Media Distribution

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