Film: Todd Haynes’ The Velvet Underground (2021)

The legendary Todd Haynes’ film The Velvet Underground (2021) has 47 of my photos in it. Time Out said: “If you already love the Velvet Underground, this is two hours of visual and aural bliss. If you don’t, same.”

Here’s what some other publications wrote:

BBC Culture: “Haynes’ film doesn’t try to explain The Velvet Underground to us, but does its utmost to put us in the room with themmirroring their jaggedly cool style with fragments of archival footage and the constant rumble of their musical catalogue. As he tells BBC Culture, ‘My job as a filmmaker is to try to bring the medium of film, in some context, to open up the visual language of a movie to a band and their music. It’s really about “how do you make a feeling of watching the movie something on a par with what they did?”‘”

The Guardian: “Haynes gives a very good sense of what I can only call the transcendental quality of the Velvet Underground’s music, inspired as it initially was by the aesthetic of drones, sustained chords and chord variations, a sense that continuous immersion in the music will (at some stage) facilitate an epiphany that cannot be coerced or guaranteed.”

The New Yorker: “If there’s a band from the nineteen-sixties that deserves the label ‘legendary,’ it’s the Velvet Underground; if there’s a director working today who knows what most becomes a legend, it’s Todd Haynes. Somehow the unpredictable excitement, and sometimes almost unendurable boredom, of the Velvet Underground eludes Haynes—but perhaps that should not surprise us. As the film’s most delightful talking head, Jonathan Richman of the Modern Lovers, puts it, ‘You could watch them play, and there would be overtones that you couldn’t account for. You could see [plays a rhythm-guitar riff]. Then you’d hear a lead, a fuzz lead, over that. And you’d hear the bass line. But there’d be these other sounds in the room. . . . It was this group sound.'”

The New York Times: “‘The kinds of subjects I want to make films about are not just because it’s music I love,” Haynes said. “They’re about cultural moments where the artist, or the genre of music, changes things or reflects changes in the culture. Or they set up an example of a unique — and usually in my mind radical — experiment where the artist succeeds in playing around with notions of identity through music and through performance.'”