- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
In a year already packed with great music documentaries — from Questlove’s Summer of Soul to Edgar Wright’s The Sparks Brothers to Mary Wharton’s Tom Petty: Somewhere You Feel Free — another standout was unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday night with the world premiere of Todd Haynes’ The Velvet Underground, which was rapturously received at the Palais (and by The Hollywood Reporter‘s film critic David Rooney), and instantly rockets to the forefront of the Oscar conversation along with the aforementioned others.
The film (not to be confused with Haynes’ unrelated 1998 film Velvet Goldmine) is a deeply researched, artfully made, compelling portrait of not only the eponymous rock band and its members, the most famous being frontman Lou Reed, but also of the larger avant-garde sixties scene from which they emerged. It boasts a perfect blend of archival footage and talking-head interviews with the surviving members of the band, John Cale and Moe Tucker, as well as others who can and do speak authoritatively about the experimental zeitgeist, from trailblazing New York filmmaker Jonas Mekas (who has since died) to Amy Taubin, a film critic who was then a part of Andy Warhol’s Factory scene.
Haynes and his longtime producer Christine Vachon — art house royals and trailblazers of LGBTQ cinema who had never previously made a documentary — prove to be the perfect people to tell this story about complex people interested in unusual things (extended time in music and film, etc.) at a transformative time. And in so vividly re-creating an era that exists in the memory of many members of the Academy’s documentary branch, they may well find their film — which will be released Oct. 15 in theaters and on Apple TV+ — recognized like numerous other 21st century docs about music and culture (from Tupac: Resurrection to What Happened, Miss Simone?) and the sixties in general (from The Weather Underground to I Am Not Your Negro).
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day
The Green Knight