Cannes rock documentary Velvet Underground seeks to inspire new fans

The 74th Cannes Film Festival – Photocall for the film “The Velvet Underground” Out of Competition – Cannes, France, July 8, 2021. Director Todd Haynes poses. REUTERS / Johanna Géron

CANNES, France, July 9 (Reuters) – Filmmaker Todd Haynes has said he hopes to reach a new generation of fans with a documentary on rock and roll band The Velvet Underground, which features scenes shot by Andy Warhol that capture the intoxicating creative energy of New York City in the 1960s.

“The Velvet Underground,” presented at the Cannes Film Festival on the French Riviera, is slated for release on Apple TV + in October, and Haynes said he’s happy to try and reach new audiences this way, too.

“I hope they take something of the spirit of that time to New York City in the 60s and a spirit of some sort of possibility for creative thinking and thinking outside the box,” Haynes told Reuters in an interview.

The director had explored the world of music before but in feature films, notably with Bob Dylan’s 2007 biopic “I’m Not There” in which six actors played the composer.

In his first documentary, Haynes worked with hours of never-before-seen footage shared by singer and guitarist Lou Reed’s widow and the band’s reels shot by artist Warhol, immersing viewers in intimate moments between the musicians.

The film is not competing for the awards of the world’s largest film festival, but was screened at the event, which is back after a one-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Rather than trying to lift the veil on the ins and outs of the band’s personal life, Haynes said he’s projecting more of a glimpse of a special moment in New York City where artists from different walks of life have come together.

“I had basic concepts from the start of how it could be unique, how we could try to make it something as unique as the band itself and the music itself,” said Haynes.

“It had a lot to do with the other, all of the other arts that were going on in New York at the time that surrounded this group and that this group was really born and brought to life.”

The filmmaker, known for “Far from Heaven” and “Carol”, spoke to members close to some of the group’s stars. Leader Reed died in 2013 at the age of 71.

The Velvet Underground never enjoyed huge commercial success in the 1960s, but their songs endured, including “Walk on the Wild Side” and “Perfect Day”.

Reporting by Hanna Rantala, writing by Sarah White; Editing by Raïssa Kasolowsky

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Corina C. Butler

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