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Lou Reed's Berlin
     

Lou Reed's Berlin

Director: Alejandro Garmendia, Julian Schnabel

Cast: Lou Reed, Emmanuelle Seigner

 

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In 2007, iconic New York rocker Lou Reed collaborated with artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel for a series of concerts in which Reed performed his classic 1973 album Berlin in its entirety, accompanied by a small orchestra led by Bob Ezrin (who produced and arranged the original recordings), a choir and guitarist Steve Hunter, another alumnus of the original

Overview

In 2007, iconic New York rocker Lou Reed collaborated with artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel for a series of concerts in which Reed performed his classic 1973 album Berlin in its entirety, accompanied by a small orchestra led by Bob Ezrin (who produced and arranged the original recordings), a choir and guitarist Steve Hunter, another alumnus of the original 1973 album. Schnabel created an elaborate multi-media display to go along with the show and filmed the concerts for posterity; this DVD release allows fans who either missed the Berlin tour or the documentary's brief theatrical release to see Reed revisit one of his most celebrated recordings. Lou Reed's Berlin has been give a widescreen transfer, letterboxed at 1.85:1 on conventional televisions and enhanced for anamophic playback on 16x9 monitors. The transfer is richly colorful and crisply detailed (though someone should tell Schnabel that blue titles on a black background aren't very easy to read on a video monitor) and Ellen Kuras's cinematography has been given kid gloves treatment. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 and the mix is clear and spacious, making room for the strings and the horns as well as Reed and Hunter's guitar interplay. The performances are in English, with optional subtitles in English and Spanish but with no multiple language features. As a bonus, this DVD also includes a brief excerpt from Elvis Costello's talk show Spectacle with the singer/songwriter discussing the Berlin concerts with Reed and Schnabel, a short behind-the-scenes look at the Berlin tour in Europe, and trailers for Lou Reed's Berlin and several other music-oriented titles from the Weinstein Company. Lou Reed's Berlin doesn't quite capture the excitement of being there, but this is a far more adventurous and intelligent concert documentary than most artists would offer, and it's compelling stuff for fans of Reed's music.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
This reviewer never knew Lou Reed's Berlin album to have been so thoroughly maligned on its original release -- but, then again, the mid-'70s was when we stopped paying attention to most of the music press. Luckily, Reed himself, along with director Julian Schnabel and producers Bob Ezrin and Hal Willner, never took the criticisms seriously (or, in Reed's case, permanently to heart). And the result is this concert film, intended to be shown at full concert volume (some filmgoers may have to change seats to protect their hearing), filled with fluid camera work and showcasing not only Reed and his band (including original guitarist Steve Hunter) and the large coterie of support musicians, but also the extraordinary performing space at St. Ann's Warehouse (one of the great, not sufficiently heralded treasures of the New York City art and music scene). Schnabel's designs, and the photography by Ellen Kuras (Neil Young: Heart of Gold), intercut with dissolves and edits to silent footage shot by Schnabel's daughter Lola, all seem to fit the music, and the combined effect is spellbinding, even as the music surges in power (with some occasional bursts of lyricism) in this concert setting. The piece itself is still something of an acquired taste, though not nearly as much in 2008 as it was 33 years before. In point of fact, the three non-Berlin numbers -- including "Sweet Jane" -- that finish the film are still far more accessible and provoke the strongest audience reaction. But they're icing on the cake; if you're still with the movie for the end of the concept work, then you're already very likely won over.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/30/2008
UPC:
0796019815253
Original Release:
2007
Rating:
PG-13
Source:
Miriam Collection
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:21:00

Special Features

An excerpt from Spectacle: Elvis Costello With Lou Reed & Julian Schnabel; Berlin on tour; Theatrical trailer

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Lou Reed Actor
Emmanuelle Seigner Caroline
Antony Actor
Fernando Saunders Participant
Sharon Jones Participant
Brooklyn Youth Chorus Participant
Steve Hunter Participant
Tony "Thunder" Smith Participant
Antony Hegarty Participant

Technical Credits
Alejandro Garmendia Director
Julian Schnabel Director,Set Decoration/Design
Stanley F. Buchthal Executive Producer
Susan Feldman Producer
Sydney Festival Producer
Benjamin Flaherty Editor
John Harris Sound/Sound Designer
Maya Hoffman Executive Producer
Jon Kilik Producer
Ellen Kuras Cinematographer
Fergus Lineham Producer
Ann Ruark Co-producer
Tom Sarig Producer
Arts at St. Ann's Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Lou Reed's Berlin
1. Introduction [3:29]
2. Berlin [2:33]
3. Lady Day [4:09]
4. Men of Good Fortune [6:38]
5. Caroline Says I [4:32]
6. How Do You Think It Feels [5:38]
7. Oh, Jim [8:11]
8. Caroline Says II [4:36]
9. The Kids [8:09]
10. The Bed [5:57]
11. Sad Song [7:37]
12. Encore: Candy Says [6:48]
13. Encore: Rock Minuet [6:47]
14. Encore: Sweet Jane [5:54]

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