New Leonard Cohen documentary has been announced and is preparing to be premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
The film, which follows his love story with Marianne Ihlen, has been entitled Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love and is directed by Nick Broomfield. It is well-known that Ihlen was the inspiration that served up some of Cohen’s best work with his first two albums Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967) and Songs from a Room (1969).
Ihlen, born in Larkollen, Norway, was Cohens muse for the majority of the 1960s and, in the 1967 track ‘So Long, Marianne’, he sang that she “held on to me like I was a crucifix as we went kneeling through the dark”. Their relationship flowed between Norway and Hydra, Greece where they both lived for a number of years. In later life, she would go on to marry Jan Stang in 1979 and settle in Oslo.
Having been diagnosed with leukemia in late July 2016, Ihlen’s close friend Jan Christian Mollestad contacted Cohen to tell him Ihlen was dying. Cohen, who was also suffering from illness, penned the following letter to his muse:
“Well Marianne it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine. And you know that I’ve always loved you for your beauty and your wisdom, but I don’t need to say anything more about that because you know all about that. But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.”
The letter would become a particularly poignant moment as Cohen himself would died just four months after Ihlen.