Dear Shaded Viewers,
I just finished watching NICO, 1988 follows the singer-songwriter, approaching 50, leading a solitary existence in Manchester, far from her 60s glam days as a Warhol superstar and celebrated vocalist for cult band The Velvet Underground. Her life and career on the fringes, Nico’s new manager Richard convinces her to hit the road again and tour Europe to promote her latest album. Struggling with her demons and the consequences of a muddled life, she longs to rebuild a relationship with her son, whose custody she lost long ago. A brave and uncompromising musician, Nico’s story is the story of a rebirth: of an artist, a mother, and the woman behind the icon. WRITTEN & DIRECTED BY Susanna Nicchiarelli
The film chronicles the final years of singer Nico, most famous for her work on the first Velvet Underground record and the 1967 album Chelsea Girls. Born Christa Päffgen in 1938 in Nazi Germany, she came of age in the ruins of post-war Berlin and became a model at 16. She was romantically connected to a host of rock n’ roll bad boys, from Jim Morrison to Iggy Pop, and recorded sporadically up until her death in 1988 at the age of 49.
“My life started after my experience with The Velvet Underground,” she says to an admirer, a belief the filmmakers seem to share.
“The band’s tour turns into a comedy of errors; the guitarist becomes a heroin addict, despite the disapproval of the similarly addicted Nico, guarantees aren’t met, and at one point the singer performs a smacked-out cover of Nat King Cole’s “Nature Boy” in exchange for her hotel accommodations. Playing shows behind the Iron Curtain, both Nico and her guitarist go through heroin withdrawal, fueling a passionate performance, and then fleeing after the gig to avoid arrest. The film accurately portrays the alternately hopeless and mundane “lost at sea” feeling of being on a bad tour, a literal road to nowhere.”
The film stars Danish actress and singer Trine Dyrholm.
I recommend it.