The Velvet Underground (2021)
October 22, 2021 7:09 AM - Subscribe

Experience the iconic rock band's legacy in the first major documentary to tell their story. Directed with the era's avant-garde spirit by Todd Haynes, this kaleidoscopic oral history combines exclusive interviews with dazzling archival footage.

Now in theaters, and also streaming on Apple TV+.
posted by 1970s Antihero (4 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This was everything I'd hoped it would be. I'd read that they included some never before seen footage, though I'm not sure which footage it was. I wish it'd been longer, honestly, and really gotten into detail with the timeline of things. The band worked very hard for years. When they toured most of the time is was a two-night (or longer) set. You get a sense of this when Jonathan Richmond talks about how many times he'd seen them. (They even toured for a few years after Reed left the band, per Oliver Landemaine's excellent VU web page.)

I'd prepped myself for the documentary earlier in the year by reading Prosperi Buri's excellent "The Story of the Velvet Underground" from Europe Comics. (Goodreads / Google Books)

Overall though, with the exception not even mentioning the band's post-Warhol terrible manager Steve Sesnick, this is an amazing well put together documentary. I just wish it was much more detailed and longer!
posted by Catblack at 10:30 AM on October 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

Hah, there was a Twitter thread out of the blue last week about "the Velvet Underground sucks actually," and so this must have been the impetus there.

posted by rhizome at 2:32 PM on October 22, 2021

There was also the release of I'll Be Your Mirror: A Tribute to The Velvet Underground & Nico earlier in the month.

I'm obviously of the camp "anyone who thinks the Velvet Underground sucks, actually sucks." Anyhow, hating on this band is so old.

I will add to my review above that the documentary spends a lot of time exploring where Cale and Reed were at, what their influences were coming into the band. It's explored a little bit, fictionally, in the graphic novel I linked above which also gives a better sense of what it would have been like to hang out on Ludlow street and then transition into being installed at Warhol's Factory. There was probably a great balance that the director had to strike about what to cover overall.
posted by Catblack at 4:28 PM on October 22, 2021

I really enjoyed how Haynes approached the subject through his appreciation for underground film. Also every moment of Jonathan Richman onscreen gushing about his favorite band is remarkable. It’s wonderful to see someone who is so uniquely expert on a subject share their appreciation. What better #1 fan could a band ask for?
posted by chrchr at 8:21 PM on October 22, 2021 [7 favorites]

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