Todd Haynes Velvet Underground looks behind a curtain

Velvet Underground

For his new documentary on the Velvet Underground, director Todd Haynes draws inspiration from the group’s rebellious attitude.

It is said that everyone who saw the Velvet Underground later started a group of their own. After seeing the unusual Velvet underground Todd Haynes (released on Apple TV + on October 15), is also in a hurry to capture a camera that annoys us. Director of Glam-Rock Time Capsule Velvet Goldmine (1998), Biography of Bob Dylan I’m not there (2007) Velvet co – authored his first documentary here, combining archive footage, stories and interviews with co – founder John Caley, drummer Maureen Tucker and several collaborators.

To tell the story of Velvet’s short career under Andy’s leadership, Haynes borrows from the same sources that inspired aggression and its predecessors (avant-garde cinema, pop art, bohemian life, and the rebellious aspects of rock and roll). Warhole in the factory until a few years later down to hell. From the moment we saw Kale and Lou Reid come together on a split screen (tribute to the movie) Chelsea girls De Warhol), we understand that this is the only experimental view in a group.

We don’t need a velvet underground film that says how awesome they are; There are so many reviews you can explain, says Haynes from his home in Portland, Oregon. I wanted to pay tribute to them, but do something radical in the spirit of the group.

Like others, Haynes became familiar with the Velvet Underground in the 1980s through David Bowie, Roxy Music, Punk and Warhole. Much later, in 2017, he condoled with musician Lori Anderson, who donated the archives of her late husband Reed to the Los Angeles Public Library. When producers approached Anderson with the idea of ​​making a portrait of Velvet, she mistakenly named Haynes.

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Very quickly, he establishes a rule: he will only interview people who have been there, or who know Reid and guitarist Sterling Morrison personally. John Caley was one of the first to acknowledge: ” I considered almost everything Todd did to be the work of a ‘firm hand’ “The director’s involvement made all the difference for him.” Between the attention of carnivores and the unconscious search for beauty “However, bassist, organist and singer Doug Yule (who joined the group for their third album) declined to attend.” He is an environmentalist and he felt he had other serious issues that needed his attention. Says Haynes.

The documentary also includes a rare illustrated interview with the sensible Modern Lovers singer Jonathan Richman. ” He has attended 60 or 80 of their concerts in Boston, Haynes says. Instead of laughing at this super teenage fan, they taught him to play the guitar.

Haynes immersed himself in the explosion of art surrounding velvet. Avant-Garde deserves not only Warhol’s coup plans, but also the work of directors Jonas McCas, Jack Smith, composers La Monte Young, Marion Sasila and other Midtown Manhattan artists. ” I wanted to tell this story in the experimental language of the 1960s, he explains. At the time, borders were accessible to the mainstream, nominally underground and commercial. I wanted to make a film that is not an oral history that leads us to music and pictures, not words. .

The result? Velvet’s plastic is a work that can be shown very well with its essential performance, similar to Warhol’s famous film about the group, which performed at music concerts by musicians. In short, the beautiful explosion of sound, the striking visuals, the fragments from the group at its peak, the testimonials that place everything in a 360 degree background. in other words, Velvet underground It looks like a band album: a mixture of different elements coming together to create something poetic and twisted.

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Honestly, even though their music didn’t touch me that much, I wanted to make a movie about them, Haynes says. It is the story of defense. Knowing how to say no. This is very important in rock & roll.

David Fear

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