The clue might be in the title, but Marianne And Leonard : Words Of Love is as much about the power of emotions as it is the power of music. You don‘t have to be a massive fan of Cohen‘s work to enjoy Broomfield‘s excellent documentary, but of course it has several more layers if, like me, you have followed the words of Cohen through poetry, songs and stories – this is an unassuming man, who when you put him behind a microphone, is able to reveal truths about the listener as well as himself, his music has always been beautiful, thoughtful and ultimately blacker than night. And then there is Marianne.
So Long Marianne, written like so many of the classics about Marianne Ihlen sees a poet lost in the haze of love, is it a prison or is it a paradise? Broomfield‘s documentary shows you that it was both, these two were destined to be together, but fate came calling to tear them apart on a number of occasions, before death itself took them almost side by side, within three months they were both gone.
It‘s interesting to learn about the couple‘s time on the island of Hydra, Cohen‘s loss of millions of dollars and also their early lives, where director Broomfield actually knew Marianne and this was how he was introduced to the work of Cohen.
It‘s a beautiful whistful film, full of character and heart and then after all the heartache and tragedy, there are some of the greatest songs ever written. As long as there are teenagers in love, these songs will be shared via mixtape, vinyl or whatever space age format comes next, Leonard Cohen might be an angel of the sixties, but his music is timeless and forever there to be fallen in love with or to. Words Of Love gives you a glimpse into why and will have you reaching for your old vinyl to once again hear the yearning, now that you know more about the beautiful woman who inspired it.
It‘s a shame that the DVD version does not have any concert footage or music videos, but you know where to go to get them anyway, so it‘s a pointless criticism in the YouTube age and we do get an excellent interview with Nick Broomfield by Jools Holland, which lasts a welcome 25 minutes.
Sit back, relax and enjoy a brilliant documentary about brillant people.