The Velvet Underground (2021) is a documentary directed by Todd Haynes (Velvet Goldmine, 1998; I’m Not There, 2007) that chronicles the life of the rock band The Velvet Underground. Haynes was specially selected by Lou Reed’s widow, the artist Laurie Anderson, to make the movie.
In this, his first documentary, Haynes sought to examine the cultural environment of the time, as well as the group’s musical and cinematographic influences. The film spans from its inception to the separation of the original members in the early 1970s. This work also includes interviews with John Cale, Maureen Tucker, and musicians influenced by The Velvet Underground. As expected, the film integrated a wide variety of images, music and video to complement the history of the whole of New York.
“I was not interested in making a normal documentary. He was interested in making a gay documentary! I was interested in making an avant-garde documentary, using the culture and language of the art scene that surrounded them, as a means of telling the story. That was in large part because there are so few traditional images of them. At the time, his images were found almost exclusively in avant-garde cinema, mostly owned by Andy Warhol. That was both a limitation and a creative opportunity, because it meant that all these incredible filmmakers and their films were relevant to this story, but also incredibly beautiful and diverse. That became the bloodstream of the movie, ” commented the director for No Film School.
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From underground to stardom
The Velvet Underground was a rock band founded in 1965 in New York City and comprised of Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Maureen Tucker. Furthermore, the ensemble is remembered for its ties to celebrated artist Andy Warhol who would become its manager in 1966. Their debut album “The Velvet Underground & Nico” (which includes German singer / model Nico) was released in 1967. After this first material, three more albums were produced: “White Light / White Heat” (1968), “The Velvet Underground” (1969) and “Loaded” (1970) before their separation.
More than 20 years after its dissolution, the band reunited for a series of concerts in 1993 and released the live album, “Live MCMXCIII” (1993). Following Morrison’s death in 1995, the group reunited during their 1996 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, when Reed, Cale, and Tucker performed live as The Velvet Underground for the last time.
Despite not gaining success and recognition in their day, over time The Velvet Undergound became one of the most influential bands in rock. And if that were not enough, the group is in the nineteenth place of the best rock bands of all time according to Rolling Stone and their first four albums are within the 500 best rock records according to the same magazine.
El soundtrack del documental The Velvet Underground
The documentary The Velvet Underground have a soundtrack in charge of Randall Poster (music supervisor). He included songs from The Velvet Underground and the projects of its members (The Primitives) and groups that influenced them (Bo Diddley, The Diablos feat. Nolan Strong and The Theatre Of Eternal Music).
- Venus in Furs – The Velvet Underground & Nico
- The Wind – The Diablos feat. Nolan Strong
- 17 XII 63 NYC The Fire Is A Mirror – The Theatre Of Eternal Music
- Heroin (mono) – The Velvet Underground
- Road Runner (Live At The Beach Club, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina/1963) – Bo Diddley
- The Ostrich – The Primitives
- I’m Waiting For The Man – The Velvet Underground & Nico
- Chelsea Girls – Nico
- Sunday Morning – The Velvet Underground & Nico
- Siste Ray (Live In New York City/1967) – The Velvet Underground
- Pale Blue Eyes – The Velvet Underground
- Foggy Notion – The Velvet Underground
- After Hours (Live) – The Velvet Underground
- Sweet Jane – The Velvet Underground
- Ocean – The Velvet Underground
- All Tomorrow’s Parties – The Velvet Underground & Nico
The film had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and was released in streaming in October via Apple TV+.