Review: Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love (2019)


Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love (2019)

Director: Nick Broomfield | 102 minutes documentary, music | With: Leonard Cohen, Marianne Ihlen, Nick Broomfield, Nancy Bacal, Jeffrey Brown, Judy Collins, Ron Cornelius, Billy Donovan, Julie Felix, Helle Goldman, Aviva Layton, Irving Layton, John Lissauer, Don Lowe, Marty Machat, Jan Christian Mollestad, John Simon, George Slater, Rick Vick, Jennifer Warnes, Udo Jürgens

Everyone familiar with the controversial “Kurt & Courtney” (1998) will look with suspicion at another work by Nick Broomfield. A documentary maker with a tunnel vision without a rebuttal – Courtney Love allegedly had Kurt Cobain killed in contrast to the widely accepted suicide reading, makes himself very easy – though Broomfield found access to a world that nobody had explored, and certainly the trouble of it. worth investigating.

However, roll hygiene was strange to Broomfield in the aforementioned documentary. His informal style certainly has charm, a quality that also exudes “Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love”. Again it is about a doomed relationship, this time more immersed in incense than in poison. It is also possible with a gentleman poet like Leonard Cohen, who blew his failures with cool beauty, and inter alia immortalized in “So Long, Marianne”.

Broomfield has not been a fly on the wall, both Marianne and Leonard died in 2016, rather a soft narrator. He lets both lovers tell in archive material, a nice counterweight. Cohen compacted reality, because “I am an artist, and life is an art.” The Norwegian Marianne Ihlen found that attractive, but it is also the call of the Sirens, a more beautiful reality than the life of non-artists can offer. The artist does suffer from life anyway.

He cannot do anything else, his being is too strong, and even if it leads to deep depression: the muse always brings him back on top and transforms his pain. The artist is not owned by anyone, and that requires fierce women. Marianne was one, otherwise, you won’t go after a poet. Broomfield somewhat rehabilitates with this BBC documentary, by keeping himself in the background in this story. Love stays in solidified memory.


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