Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love centers on the relationship between Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen. They met on the Greek island of Hydra, and this idyllic environment also served as a foundation for Leonard Cohen’s growth. That being said, Cohen was that rare individual who actually seemed to flourish, at least on an artistic basis, on the island.
“I think a lot of people went to the island and they couldn’t really exist well on the island,” said director Nick Broomfield, who actually spent time on the island when he was 20. “Many marriages came to pieces. Many of the families – their relationship broke up. They had affairs with other people on the island. They neglected the children. There was a lot of drug taking – this was the ‘60s. But I think all of that – Leonard was able to use it to his benefit and it kind of made his work and his art stronger. And I think he was one of the few exceptions to that. A lot of people have commented on that so I think it took a particular discipline to survive Hydra.
As for Ihlen, she spent most of her life raising her son Axel and married to her second husband Jan Stang until her 2016 passing. Click on the media bar to hear Broomfield, who was a friend and former lover of Ihlen, recount her “generosity of spirit”:
My full interview with Broomfield is available for CinemAddicts Patreon members. Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love opens in theaters July 5.