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Nico Icon (1995)

Nico , Tina Aumont , Susanne Ofteringer  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Nico, Tina Aumont, Ari Boulogne, Edith Boulogne, Jackson Browne
  • Directors: Susanne Ofteringer
  • Writers: Susanne Ofteringer
  • Producers: Annette Pisacane, Peter Nadermann, Thomas Mertens, Ulla Zwicker
  • Format: Black & White, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: German (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Fox Lorber
  • DVD Release Date: January 14, 1998
  • Run Time: 67 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 1572522194
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #379,238 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Nico Icon" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

A striking and harrowing documentary about fame, drugs, pop culture, and celebrity, Nico Icon casts a harsh light on the underground world of pop art and music in the 1960s and 1970s through the prism of a girl who lived too hard and died too young. The German-born Nico is presented as someone who never fit in, no matter what she was doing, from her career as a fashion model in the 1950s (including an appearance in Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita) to her tenure in the 1960s as one of the cast of characters in artist Andy Warhol's "Factory" to her stint as a backup singer for Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground. Most of the film concentrates on her sordid relationship with her son with French actor Alain Delon and her decline into heroin addiction and obscurity. This visually innovative and challenging documentary doesn't judge her but uses her life to illustrate the excesses of the world around her. Nico Icon will be a revelation for those interested in the world it depicts. --Robert Lane

Product Description

German director Susanne Ofteringer's sombre, hypnotic film documents the life of the Velvet Underground's chanteuse, Nico, from her beginnings as a model (she had the icy beauty of a Diana Rigg) to her death, in 1988, as a pallid junkie. Throughout the movie, Nico's music plays practically non-stop: enigmatic dirges of longing and bitterness torn from a soul drugged to numbness by her successive environments (postwar Germany, Warhol's Factory, life on the road). With extraordinary technique, Ofteringer paints a moody, melancholy picture of a legend who decayed into the ghost of herself.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating glimpse into Nico's life July 19, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
This documentary was filmed a few years after her death. Several people who knew her well are interviewed -- members of her band (both Velvet Underground and musicians who toured with her in the 1970s and 1980s), friends, her only child, Ari, and an aunt who helped raise her. "Unconventional" seems to be an understatement of her persona. One man who is described as a bohemian who apparently knew her before her Velvet Underground days, says that no one liked Nico and Nico liked no one. I'm don't think that's true, but the appearance is that she really didn't like herself, and that may be manifested in her habitual drug abuse and addiction. In the film, we learn that she introduced her young son to heroin, which resulted in his falling in a coma. When she visited him in the hospital, she brought a tape recorder and recorded the sound of his life support machine so she could use it on her next album. Nico's aunt from Germany, who helped raise her, gave some information on her early life. Nico was born in the 1930s and it sounds like she had to grow up in a hurry during WW II and even afterwards. There are film footage and stills from Nico's modeling days in the late 50s and early 60s. In her later days, one guy who toured with her said that she drew a knife and threatened to kill the driver of the band's van. I think it was the same guy who said that after being primarily noted for her physical beauty in her younger life, she was now proud of her rotting teeth and bad skin. She was clearly a troubled woman yet there is undoubtedly something mysterious about her that drew people to her.
Some of the information in the film is very touching about Nico.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, and achingly beautiful... December 19, 2006
This is one of those exceptional documentaries which takes as its subject someone whom virtually no one would want to know on a personal basis, and yet turns that subject into someone you can't help but be fascinated by, and even feel affection for. Regardless of how rabid a Nico fan you are (and I'm pretty rabid, myself), it's hard to assert that she wasn't an extremely difficult person to know, to say the least. I venture to say, though, that this film is as close as most of us will ever come to knowing what she was like, as it is a clear eyed portrayal that refuses to romanticize her personal struggles and unkindnesses, while at the same time not condescending to 'drugs are bad and gee, wasn't she weird?' cliches.

In another review, someone mentioned that Nico probably simply didn't care enough to live. I think that there is something to this; however, I would tweak that claim slightly to say that, perhaps, Nico never really saw herself as living in this world at all. She dwelled somewhere very near the curtain that separates this world from 'The Other'. Nico perhaps saw her physical beauty as a supreme twist of cosmic irony: the one thing about her that everyone seemed to agree on, and that was her meal ticket for years, was the least tangible and 'real' of phenomena to her.

In any case, Nico's music is exceptionally beautiful, and this documentary gives plenty of examples of that, as well as rare and revealing footage that you really can't find elsewhere. Even if you're only a casual Nico fan, or fan of documentaries, I highly recommend "Nico Icon".
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rock heroine December 3, 1998
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
As a teenager, my friends and I knew of very few intelligent, deep, female stars to identify with. Nico would have provided a great alternative to Jim Morrison (a man) or even Janis Joplin (not exactly "intellectual" in the way Morrison and Nico were).
Nico's story is tragic. Her family was broken apart by WWII. As she grew older, her identity was defined by her beauty and the fashion industry. Her choices over time reveal the rejection of that superfical identity. She refused to sing high and "prettily," and her lyrics are intelligent and clear about her psychological and emotional isolation. Over time, she becomes "ugly" intentionally, to free herself from the identity others wanted her to maintain.
I disagree with reviews that describe her relationship with her son as "sordid." She was a part of the world of Warhol's Factory, and like Lou Reed and the rest she lived an extreme lifestyle. But she eventually quits heroine and is somewhat reconciled with her son. Seen anyone criticizing male rock stars for how they raise their kids lately?
Her dark personality, severity, and intelligence are characteristics in women that aren't normally highlighted by the male-dominated media industry. And no wonder, she wasn't trying to please any men, so why should they be interested? It's unfortunate, though, for her music is haunting and powerful.
Nico was as intense and talented as Lou Reed or Jim Morrison, and arguably with more to say, given her family and personal history. Yet she was relatively excluded from mainstream rock history. This is definitely a good movie, and Nico is great for girls and women who need an icon with the same intensity and power and talent as some well-known "tragic" male stars.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A typical documentary except...
I watched this quite a few years ago. I thought it was a typical rock-documentary. Interviews and old footage. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Phutatorius
4.0 out of 5 stars Straight & to the Point
Saw this film in its entirety in a small theater in NYC in '97, about a year after its official release. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Michael J. Ambrosio
5.0 out of 5 stars A real tear-jerker
Man, what can ya say? Something about her, her voice, her, how shall I say?, sadness is it? Too much. This film does not gloss over anything.
Published on March 27, 2012 by Andyman
5.0 out of 5 stars Factory Girl
"Nico Icon" is a fascinating documentary about Andy Warhol's Factory Girl icon-- the mononomous Nico. Read more
Published on October 4, 2009 by Amaranth
5.0 out of 5 stars Life is very long
The cover nearly says it all: "goddess, pop star, jukie, icon." The film is spliced with interviews with legends like John Cale and Andy Warhol talking about one of their peers. Read more
Published on December 24, 2008 by Surferofromantica
4.0 out of 5 stars A Harrowing Descent Into Hell.
I don't know if I can say that I "enjoyed" "Nico Icon," this has to be one of the most depressing, hellish falls of a beautiful star ever recorded. Read more
Published on September 26, 2008 by Robert Blake
5.0 out of 5 stars Best and Beautiful
How great it is to see Nico singing, talking.

Also features Nico's aunt as she recalls Christina's youth and how the both knew she'd become the successful Nico, model,... Read more
Published on May 20, 2007 by Groovin' guy
5.0 out of 5 stars Nico-Icon
This Title is essential for true Nico fanatics. It is excellently produced and gives us, the viewers, a real look at the private Nico. Read more
Published on July 5, 2005 by R. A. Neal
4.0 out of 5 stars Unknown Icon.
I first heard of Nico many years ago. I vaguely remember her as the epitome of Nordic beauty, who sang with The Velvet Underground and consequently was associated with Andy Warhol. Read more
Published on January 23, 2005 by F. Gentile
5.0 out of 5 stars a good film on Nico's life
This is a very good film, but nothing said about Nico by anyone can be taken a face value. The problem for someone like Nico her whole life is that few (if any) people really... Read more
Published on January 13, 2005 by Mark Lewis
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