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

Onelung: Binary Pop Songs (Monkey/Global Routes)

Onelung: Binary Pop Songs (Monkey/Global Routes)

Behind the unappealing nom de disque is Auckland electronica musician Kevin Tutt whose previous album Nu Scientist was a real, if overlooked, gem. Once again located somewhere between the harder... > Read more

Jimmy Buffett: Buffet Hotel (Mailboat)

Jimmy Buffett: Buffet Hotel (Mailboat)

Buffett has made a career and an excellent living out of writing songs about drinking margaritas, sailing and flying, party moods with good food and better friends, beach bars and so on. He also... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST WRITER AND PHOTOGRAPHER JONATHAN GANLEY on Nick Cave and the Birthday Party at Mainstreet, 1983

GUEST WRITER AND PHOTOGRAPHER JONATHAN GANLEY on Nick Cave and the Birthday Party at Mainstreet, 1983

Friday May 3 2013 marks 30 years to the day since Nick Cave and The Birthday Party played their first New Zealand show at Mainstreet nightclub on Auckland’s Queen St. Photographer Jonathan... > Read more

Various Artists The Rough Guide to the Best African Music You've Never Heard (Rough Guide/Southbound)

Various Artists The Rough Guide to the Best African Music You've Never Heard (Rough Guide/Southbound)

Smart people don't believe the hype . . . or album titles which overpromise. But surprisingly this one -- which attempts both -- actually delivers quite a number of lower-totem pole African names,... > Read more