Lou Reed's Berlin

Lou Reed's Berlin


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

After causing quite a stir with the critically acclaimed The Diving Bell And The Butterfly - which employed inspired direction to put the audience inside the body of stroke victim Jean-Do Bauby - Julian Schnabel's follow-up is far more traditional in its techniques.

It is a very straight forward concert film, of Lou Reed performing his "rock opera" style album Berlin - about a drug-fuelled doomed relationship - for the first time since it bombed quite spectacularly on release back in 1973. The setting is Brooklyn, across five nights, and Schnabel also provided film which runs behind the Reed and his support - dreamy sequences featuring Diving Bell's Emmanuelle Seigner that, against the odds, manage to complement the downbeat music.

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Star ratings for concert films are virtually redundant - since how you feel about the film will for the most part be determined by how you feel about the music. As one who enjoys Lou Reed's back catalogue, this is a good example. The young spark off the old, the classical elements enhance Reed's gravelly vocals and it's refreshing that the focus is kept on the music - this is stripped down stuff, no dashing off back stage to see Reed 'at leisure'.

An intimate venue coupled with incredibly energetic and heart-felt performances from Reed, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus and a string and brass section to die for make for a moving experience. The music is not limited to that of Berlin, with Sweet Jane, Rock Minuet and a startling pure rendition of Candy Says - featuring exquisite vocals from Antony (of Antony and the Johnstons), filling out the runtime.

Reviewed on: 31 May 2008
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Lou Reed's Berlin packshot
Concert film of Lou Reed's live rendition of his song cycle album.
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Director: Julian Schnabel

Starring: Lou Reed, Antony Hegarty, Emmanuelle Seigner, Sharon Jones

Year: 2007

Runtime: 81 minutes

Country: US


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