Culture / TV

So long, Marianne: A new Norwegian series draws on the romance between Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen

so long marianne series

We met when we were almost young, deep in the green lilac park. You held on to me like I was a crucifix, as we went kneeling through the dark.

So long, Marianne. It's a song, bittersweet and written by Leonard Cohen for his former lover Marianne Ihlen. The two met on the Greek Island Hydra in 1960. At the time, Ihlen had been deserted by her husband Axel Jensen and left to raise the child the two shared. When Cohen found his way on the island, Ihlen and the poet began a friendship that blossomed into a fabled love affair. Although the two would eventually split as Cohen became absorbed in the art scene at The Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan, the relationship inspired some of Cohen's most beloved tracks. And now, it has spurred on a drama series from Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

Titled after the song, which appeared on Cohen's iconic album Songs of Leonard Cohen, the eight-part series will reimagine the relationship between Ihlen and Cohen, which has been billed as an “intimate” drama about “two equally lonely people falling in love in a period of their life when they are still trying to figure out who they are”.

Anyone who has found themselves Googling this relationship into the early hours of the morning should certainly add the television series to their watch list. Hopefully it delves past the passé dynamic of the artist and his muse. Marianne Ihlen was just as much an active member within the relationship as Leonard Cohen, it just so happens that Cohen made popular music and wrote poetry about the love they shared. And despite the relationship's painful end, the two reconnected shortly before Ihlen's death in 2016, where it would be a mere four months until Cohen would follow.

Much of the series will be shot on the craggy and picturesque island of Hydra, with scenes also filmed between Oslo (Ihlen's birthplace), London, New York City and Montreal. As for casting, we've been promised that the announcement will arrive very soon with production for So Long, Marianne set to begin in February 2023.

Watch this space for more details about the series So Long, Marianne including the official cast, trailer and release date.

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