Review #Venezia74: Nico, 1988

Her name can be associated with the Velvet Underground and Andy Warhol: a tall and blonde German model, with a deep but still angelic voice. Nico, 1988 is directed by Susanna Nicchiarelli and it’s the story of the great Christa Päffgen, aka Nico.
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he film is an introspective journey inside the life of Christa after her experience with the Velvet Underground, through drugs and a suicidal son that she had from a man when she was very young. Because of the reckless life she led, the boy was adopted by his grandparents and this had a great influence in her music.
The struggle of being Nico, the model and tambourine player of the band, the addiction to many types of drugs, the carrier as a solo singer, has made Christa an “ugly, old junkie” as she says in the film. The desperation in her music, the wildness of her personality has been well interpreted by Trine Dyrholm, who has been able to depict the demons with which the singer fought everyday.

The soundtrack of the film has been entirely performed by Trina, who not only looks like the real Nico but also has a voice that looks very much like the original. Every song is full of emotions and speak about a life of struggle and broken-hearted.

The editing of Nico,1988 helps the spectator identify with Christa and makes him look right into her eyes. The close-ups on Nico’s face – while she stares into the camera or the empty space in front of her – makes one feel as if she was in front of the viewer. The editing also alternates what seems like old footages of the real Nico and the Trina-Nico.

After what seems a redemption, Christa is finally serene and wants to settle down, quitting music for good. The end of the film is a symbolic way to represent the death of the singer, and I think that it couldn’t have been more explicit.

Nicchiarelli has directed the perfect portrait of a legendary woman and what it ment living during the 60s. Not only what drugs have done to most of those people, but what it means to get old after living a youth full of experiences.

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