Lou Reed's Berlin: Lou Reed, Julian Schnabel (Madman DVD)

 |   |  1 min read

Lou Reed's Berlin: Lou Reed, Julian Schnabel (Madman DVD)

Elsewhere last year posted Lou Reed's 1973 Berlin as an Essential Elsewhere album, also noting the CD release of the soundtrack to this filmed concert of the album, staged and directed by Julian Schabel.

Berlin was an album that begged to be filmed and indeed there were loose plans, but then the album tanked, Reed had to hit the road to deliver his contractual obligation album Rock'n'Roll Animal, and Berlin faded from view. But like a ghost, it haunted him.

Film-maker Schnabel -- better known as an artist whose career the critic Robert Hughes has unrepentantly tried to sink -- decided to stage the album with Reed, a live band, seven-piece orchestra, the extraordinary Antony and a choir -- and with back projections, some of which involve re-enactments of the sometimes oblique, and definitely bleak, narrative.

It is an odd but oddly compelling film, not the least for Reed's apparently initial indifference to his surroundings and material which he has spoken so highly of: he is sphinx-like for much of the first third, then becomes increasingly engaged, at times flashing a smile, at others digging deep into the dark storyline.

It certainly looks good on the screen -- bigger the better I would guess, it was made for theatrical release -- and some of the playing is exceptional. It offers plenty of light and shade, but what sounded like Reed's compassion on the live album here can come off as a lack of engagement when you see his expressionless face.

That said, it is a film that deserves to be seen -- although the original album is still the one for those who want to hear how it was originally conceived, and just how much venom Reed could summons. 

 

 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Various: Born to the Breed, A Tribute to Judy Collins (Wildflower)

Various: Born to the Breed, A Tribute to Judy Collins (Wildflower)

These past few years there has been something of a rediscovery of old folkies, what with Springsteen paying tribute to Pete Seeger, the various Woody Guthrie compilations, Bob Dylan's radio show... > Read more

Wayne Hancock: Ride (Bloodshot/Southbound)

Wayne Hancock: Ride (Bloodshot/Southbound)

Wayne "The Train" Hancock is best described as a truck-stop rocker. He's the guy you'd love to see at some juke-joint or country bar with his band as they take rockabilly, Hank Williams... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Rome, Italy: When in Rome

Rome, Italy: When in Rome

I don't know his name, never did, and it isn't important anyway. Let's call him Big Marco because that's who he looked like. I arrived at Big Marco's small hotel in Rome early one morning having... > Read more

The Power of Speech: a short story

The Power of Speech: a short story

I recently spent a rather distressing luncheon engagement with a moderately well-known author. Aside from hearing much invaluable gossip about better known writers than my friend, I was also... > Read more