Opening November 7, 2019
Directed by: Nick Broomfield
Writing credits:documentary by Nick Broomfield
Principal actors: documentary narrated by Nick Broomfield with clips of Leonard Cohen, Marianne Ihlen and others
Leonard Cohen was a Canadian singer and song writer. Marianne Ihlen was from Norway. They met on the island of Hydra in Greece in the 1960s and began a lifelong relationship. At the time, Hydra was a meeting place for artists, musicians, and writers, all especially creative in the 1960s. Cohen considered Marianne his muse and dedicated many songs to her, including “So long, Marianne.” When he moved back to Montreal, he encouraged her to come, too, along with her son Axel from her first marriage. Director Nick Bloomfield shares their story, through many of his own filmed interviews that he collected over the years with commentary by Helle Goldmann and Richard Vick, as well as material by D.A. Pennebaker. We learn that Cohen came from a Jewish family and had strong Jewish connections, that “a large part of my life was escaping,” that his mother was insane and he was also a writer (Beautiful Loser 1966). Although they both had other relationships, and Marianne returned to Hydra and then Norway, they considered their relationship to be forever; they continued communication until both died within three months of each other in 2016.
Marianne & Leonard – Words of Love is important for revealing the development and history of an important musician, his ups and downs and progress. Marianne often spoke Norwegian in her appearances. The film opens a window, but, after too much repetition, the viewer is encouraged to search for more information independently. I’m sure all viewers will recognize at least one song in the film by Leonard Cohen, who did not think that he could sing, and was forced to stand on stage, after no one else was available. (Becky T.)