Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love

Nick Broomfield, USA 2019, 102’
Don’t Blink – Robert Frank Memory – The Origins of Alien

Based on archival materials and set in the idyllic landscapes of the Greek island of Hydra, this documentary melodrama shows one of the most famous pop culture love stories, i.e. the relationship of Marianne Ihlen and Leonard Cohen. In his story about the muse and artist, Broomfield tries to take on the perspective of the former, a woman he knew and with whom he was close (the director is actually a supporting figure here). This is not an easy task, especially since the archives guard the greatness of the singer and his legend (Cohen's career is perfectly documented, the fate of Ihlen is not). That is why Broomfield also reaches for the memories of her friends and audio recordings in which Ihlen shares her version of stories immortalized in wonderful songs such as So Long, Marianne or Bird On The Wire. They met in the '60s in a shop on the island - her husband had just abandoned her, she was alone with her son while Cohen was a budding writer. They became part of the international bohemia, but Hydra's party and drug-infused atmosphere worked mainly in his favor. Alongside Marianne, who fed him and ran their modest home, he created songs that catapulted him into New York's artistic salons. She left the island a few years later with a broken heart.

Małgorzata Sadowska

Nick Broomfield

Nick Broomfield is British documentary filmmaker. He studied law, political science and directing. He made his first film about the liquidation of the slums in Liverpool at the age of 23 using a borrowed camera. He created many important titles in a duet with his ex-wife, director Joan Churchill. His storytelling developed from classic direct cinema, inspired by the films of Wiseman or Leacock, to his characteristic style, which combines experiment with investigative documentary. He often makes documentary films about the lives of artists. Broomfiled works with a small crew and often appears in his films. 

Selected filmography

1971 Who Cares

1975 Juvenile Liaison

1991 The Leader, His Driver and the Driver's Wife

1998 Kurt & Courtney

2003 Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer

2013 Sex: My British Job

2015 Uśpiony morderca / Tales of the Grim Sleeper

2017 Whitney: Can I Be Me (współreżyseria z Rudim Dolezalem)

2019 Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love / Marianne & Leonard: Słowa miłości

2019 My Father and Me

Cast & Crew

director Nick Broomfield
screenplay Nick Broomfield
cinematography Barney Broomfield
editing Marc Hoeferlin
music Nic Laird-Clowes
cast Marianne Ihlen, Leonard Cohen
producer Nick Broomfield, Kyle Gibbon, Shani Hinton, Marc Hoferlin
production BBC, Kew Media Group
sales Mayfly
language English
coloration colour
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