2019 Sundance Docs in Focus: MARIANNE & LEONARD: WORDS OF LOVE

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Nicholas Broomfield

Nick Broomfield intimately reveals the love story behind the celebrated singer/songwriter and his muse.

Festival Section:
Documentary Premieres

Sundance Program Description:

MARIANNE & LEONARD: WORDS OF LOVE is a beautiful yet tragic love story between Leonard Cohen and his Norwegian muse, Marianne Ihlen. Their love began on the idyllic Greek island of Hydra in 1960 as part of a bohemian community of foreign artists, writers, and musicians. The film follows their relationship from the early days on Hydra, a humble time of “free love” and open marriage, to how their love evolved when Leonard became a successful musician.

It was on Hydra in 1968 that director Nick Broomfield, then age 20, first met Marianne Ihlen. Marianne introduced him to Leonard Cohen’s music and also encouraged Broomfield to make his first film. She was an enormous influence on him. Marianne and Leonard’s was a love story that would continue for the rest of their lives. Along the way we learn of the tragedy that befell those that could not survive the beauty of Hydra, the highs and lows of Leonard’s career, and the inspirational power that Marianne possessed.

Marianne and Leonard died three months apart.

Some Background:

  • Nick Broomfield
    Past Sundance docs:

    LILY TOMLIN (1987)
    SOLDIER GIRLS (1982)

    The acclaimed master filmmaker also previously screened two fiction features at Sundance, GHOSTS and MONSTER IN A BOX. His doc feature TALES OF THE GRIM SLEEPER was shortlisted for the Academy Award.



  • Shani Hinton

    Hinton is a UK-based attorney. She has produced or executive produced several of Broomfield’s previous doc features and series.

  • Kyle Gibbon

    The London-based Gibbon was an associate producer of one of Broomfield’s docuseries.

Associate Producer:

  • Tristan Copeland

    This marks the first Sundance credit for Copeland.

Executive Producers:

  • Charles Finch

    Finch previously executive produced GHOSTS, as well as several other Broomfield projects. He is the CEO of Finch + Partners, a brand development and investment company, as well as the global chairman for Dean & DeLuca. Finch has a background as a filmmaker and was head of international operations at William Morris.

  • Patrick Holland

    Holland is managing director of Boundless Productions. He previously executive produced WHITNEY.

  • Jan Christian Mollestad

    This is Mollestad’s first Sundance credit. He was a close friend of Marianne Ihlen.

  • Lisa Savage

    Savage has a background as an archival producer and researcher, and previously worked with Broomfield in this capacity.

  • Tony Palmer

    The BAFTA and Emmy Award winning Palmer made the 1974 documentary LEONARD COHEN: BIRD ON A WIRE.

  • Rudi Dolezal

    Dolezal is a noted Austrian filmmaker, with a special focus on music. He co-directed WHITNEY with Broomfield.

Why You Should Watch:
Broomfield draws on a deeply felt personal connection to Marianne to tell the emotional story of Cohen and his muse, recounting Leonard and Marianne’s time both together and apart, and the parallel courses their lives took.

More Info:

For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

Leave a comment

Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.