Archive of films Lou Reed's Berlin / Lou Reed's Berlin

2007, 85 min

Section: Another View
Year: 2008

A recording of a one-of-a-kind live rendition of The Velvet Underground front man’s legendary album made by his fan of many years, the celebrated artist and film director Julian Schnabel (Basquiat, Before Night Falls, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly). This combination of brilliantly coloured images and rock and roll has the strength of a crashing wave – both overwhelming and cleansing.


It took Lou Reed thirty-three years to work up the nerve to go live with his most ambitious solo project – a Brecht-esque cycle of songs that tells of the withering of a couple’s love under a bombardment of ever-stronger doses of drugs and violence. Julian Schnabel first proposed the scene for the December 2006 show in Brooklyn and then filmed it. He succeeded in creating a congenial visual impression of the legendary album. Lou Reed’s Berlin is based on an omnipresent contrast of ecstasy and narration. Just as the stories that Lou Reed sings about constantly shatter against the deafening riffs of electric guitars, the musicians on stage are perpetually drenched in a melange of abstract images and clips from short films that the director projects on the screen above their heads. This combination of brilliantly coloured images and rock and roll has the strength of a crashing wave – both overwhelming and cleansing.

About the director

Julian Schnabel (b. 1951, New York) made his name in the 1980s with his neo-expressionistic paintings and became one of the most highly acclaimed figures of the New York art scene. He began working with film in the 1990s, debuting in 1996 with Basquiat, a biopic about another artistic icon of the 1980s. The year 2000 saw the creation of an adaptation of the memoirs of Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas, Before Night Falls, which introduced Spanish actor Javier Bardem to an international public and won Schnabel a Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival. His last film, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Le scaphandre et le papillon, 2007) won the prize for Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival. All of these films have been screened at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.


Fortissimo Films
Van Diemenstraat 100, 1013 CN, Amsterdam
Tel: +31 206 273 215
Fax: +31 206 261 155

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Another View
Director: Julian Schnabel
Dir. of Photography: Ellen Kuras A.S.C.
Music: Lou Reed
Editor: Benjamin Flaherty
Producer: Jon Kilik, Tom Sarig
Cast: Lou Reed, Steve Hunter, Fernando Saunders, Sharon Jones, Antony, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Emmanuelle Seigner
Contact: Fortissimo Films


Winnie Lau



© 2020 FILM SERVIS FESTIVAL KARLOVY VARY, a.s. +420 221 411 011 All contacts

CinemasCinemas PartnersPartners
ProgramProgram About the projectAbout the project
HistoryHistory GalleryGallery
HistoryHistory ContactsContacts
Archive of filmsArchive of films KVIFF TalksKVIFF Talks
Industry Days July 5 - July 8Industry Days July 5 - July 8 ContactsContacts
VideogalleryVideogallery GalleryGallery
HistoryHistory Festival GuideFestival Guide