Broomfield’s film focuses on the love story between the late Canadian folk singer Leonard Cohen and his Norwegian muse, Marianne Ihlen. The announcement was made Thursday by Roadside co-founders Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff with a planned release date later this year. The deal was brokered by Kew Media Distribution.
“Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love” starts on the Greek island of Hydra in 1960, where Cohen and Ihlen became part of a community of expat artists, writers, and musicians, captured in never-before-seen footage shot by Broomfield and documentarian D.A. Pennebaker. Cohen and Ihlen died in 2016.
“Any Leonard Cohen fan can tell you that there’s something profoundly romantic about his music,” said Cohen and d’Arbeloff. “While it’s hard to know what inspires great art, the extraordinary love story between Marianne and Leonard comes to life in Nick’s film in a way that will inspire everyone who sees it.”
Broomfield first met Ihlen on Hydra in 1968 and went on to direct documentaries about Whitney Houston, Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, and Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love. He won the grand jury prize at Sundance for “Soldier Girls” in 1981.
“Making this film was like coming full circle,” said Broomfield. “It is D.A. Pennebaker’s unseen footage of Marianne, shot on Hydra all those years ago, that we found in a vault, that is used in the film. D.A. Pennebaker, Marianne, and Leonard have remained the greatest of influences, and it was a privilege to make this film.”
Producers are Broomfield, Marc Hoeferlin, Shani Hinton, and Kyle Gibbon. The film is executive produced by Charles Finch, Patrick Holland, Cassian Elwes, Lisa Savage, Jan Christian Mollestad, Tony Palmer, and Rudi Dolezal.