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Marianne & Leonard – Words of Love

Nick Broomfield (KURT & COURTNEY, WHITNEY - CAN I BE ME) follows the relationship of Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen from its beginnings on the Greek island of Hydra to Marianne's death.


From “Layla“ to “Angie“ and countless other songs, musicians have often been inspired by current and old flames. Poet and musician Leonard Cohen‘s relationship to his muse and on-and-off girlfriend Norwegian Marianne Ihlen has been written and speculated about more than most.

Cohen wrote “So long, Marianne“ about her, one of his most famous songs, with lyrics like “Now, so long, Marianne/ It's time that we began to laugh/And cry and cry and laugh about it all again“ that illustrates the ups and downs of their love in the typical Cohen melancholy style. The relationship began in the 60s on the Greek island Hydra, that had to be a paradise for artists, libertines, and free thinkers before the beginning of mass tourism. Thanks to plenty of sun, tabacco, and LSD, people like Cohen enjoyed the free love of the 60s. Among them was then-teenager Nick Broomfield, the director of this film. Marianne Ihlen was also a muse to him, she was the muse who led him to start filmmaking. Broomfield‘s docs KURT & COURTNEY and WHITNEY – CAN I BE ME revolve around fame and the pitfalls of the music industry. This film is first and foremost about Cohen‘s inability (or unwillingness) to end his relationship with Ihlen, even though he had moved on long ago, ladies' man that he was. But the fact that he couldn‘t let go of Marianne entirely and stayed in contact with her until his death in July 2016, hints that the affair between Marianne and Leonard had another layer, a layer that Nick Broomfield evokes in his loosely meandering documentary.

Michael Meyns

Translation: Elinor Lewy


Original title: Marianne & Leonard – Words of Love
USA 2019, 102 min
Genre: Documentary
Director: Nick Broomfield
DOP: Barney Broomfield
Montage: Marc Hoeferlin
Distributor: Piece of Magic Entertainment
Release: 07.11.2019




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles

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