Nick Broomfield’s documentary focuses on the ill-fated relationship between Leonard Cohen and his Norwegian muse Marianne Ihlen. Their affair blossomed in the golden age of life on the idyllic island of Hydra in the late 60s, when the community of ex-pat artists who had found their way there, including Australia’s Charmian Clift and George Johnston, explored “free love” and consumed alcohol and readily available drugs in large quantities as they bathed in the warm waters of the Aegean under the heady Greek sun.
But Leonard refused to be tamed, and Marianne, portrayed as the most compassionate of human beings, eventually gets the picture and returns to her homeland to live the ordinary life.
Having been there himself at the age of 20, Broomfield knows what it was like and stitches together a wonderful story from old footage and photos, interviews with people who survived the 60s, and of course, Cohen’s songs.
Reviewed by Irina Dunn