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Nico Icon

22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.

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

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Nico, Tina Aumont, Christian Päffgen, 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: #185,792 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Nico Icon" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Jl Metcalf on July 19, 2003
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
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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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By M. E. Walters on December 19, 2006
Format: DVD
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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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 3, 1998
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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