A compilation of over fifty love letters written by legendary singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen were sold at auction for $876,000. According to BBC News, one letter, which was only expected to bring in $10,000 ended up selling for nearly $60,000. In fact, a large amount of items sold for more than five times the estimate.
Image Via Christie’s
Cohen’s letters were addressed to his lover and muse, Marianne Ihlen. The letters, according to Christie’s, “offer fascinating glimpses of the young poet’s yearning and artistic struggles.” They also give insight into his struggles transitioning from a poet and novelist, to a singer-songwriter. Cohen and Ihlen met in the 60s, and though their relationship was frequently long distance, it remained profound. She was the inspiration for many of his songs such as So Long Marianne, Bird on a Wire, and That’s No Way To Say Goodbye. The two maintained a strong friendship even after their romance came to an end. They both died in 2016, just months apart.
On May 22nd, a new trailer was revealed for a new documentary called Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love. The film is about Leonard Cohen, his reflection on love, and his many relationships with women.
More specifically, the film takes a detailed look at the relationship between Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen. Ihlen was the inspiration for many of Cohen’s classics, such as “When trying to learn some things about love,” and “So Long, Marianne”. Although the couple were not always together, their strong friendship throughout many years allowed them to maintain a special bond.
Directed by Nick Broomfield, the film features footage that has never been seen before, and has conversations with various people who knew both Ihlen and Cohen.
“Though Cohen’s story has been told before, Broomfield nevertheless relates it entertainingly” said Dennis Harvey, in a review by Variety. “…mixing vintage concert excerpts and behind-the-scenes glimpses with the reminiscences of close friends and colleagues.”
The film seemingly shows the power of love and the impact it has on a writer, and how an artist can be moved and inspired by the competence of a relationship.
Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love hits select US theaters on July 5th.