Sheffield Doc/Fest Review: Marianne & Leonard – Words of Love

In Greek and Roman mythologies there were nine muses. These daughters of Zeus presided over the arts and sciences and for centuries artists would cite a muse as the inspiration for their greatest work. Leonard Cohen, one of the greatest songwriters of the twentieth century, was no exception. Nick Broomfield’s new documentary, Marianne & Leonard – Words of Love, focuses on this relationship with his ‘Calliope’.

Leonard met Marianne on the idyllic Greek island of Hydra where they were both lived in a community of foreign writers, musicians and artists. Their love first bloomed in 1960 before Cohen became a musician and blossomed as his career began to flourish. Whilst their love remained, they could never be together and gradually drifted apart. However, the spark never died. Broomfield, who knew her as well, recounts their story.

Marianne & Leonard – Words of Love is a tender, delicate and intimate portrait of a love which never really died. They were close until the very end. Using contemporary interviews combined with archive footage and audio, Broomfield skilfully builds up a picture of their lives and what it was like on Hydra. In a sense it’s a tragic tale but one which is also wonderful. Marianne & Leonard – Words of Love is a touching story of two people who will, in a sense, always be together.

Marianne & Leonard – Words of Love is out in cinemas on 26 July.

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