Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love | Chicago Reader
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Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love

Nick Broomfield is a daring, edgy British filmmaker with a reputation for bluntness, but in this, his latest documentary, he reveals a warmer personal side because he intimately knew one of his subjects, Norwegian single mom Marianne Ihlen, who became Canadian poet and author Leonard Cohen's lover and muse in 1960. By 1968, amid the spreading counterculture mores of free love and the practice of then yet-to-be-labeled open marriage, their affair was waning; when a 20-year-old Broomfield visited the Greek island of Hydra, he fell under its spell and that of Marianne, who was part of a circle of expat artists and writers. It's almost a given that the director would be sympathetic toward Marianne; what's surprising is how nonjudgmental he is of Leonard, who became increasingly neglectful, mercurial, and drug dependent as his new career as a composer and singer took off. This is an insider's fascinating meditation on the nature of genius and stardom and the toll they take on the naively optimistic.



  • Nick Broomfield


  • Cassian Elwes
  • Kyle Gibbon
  • Lisa Savage
  • Marc Hoeferlin
  • Shani Hinton

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