Filmmaker Todd Haynes‘ career is arguably one long marriage of art school tendencies and an obsession with formative rock n’ roll from the ’60s and ’70s. His career began with the experimental short, “Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story,” he then tracked the rise of glam rock in “Velvet Goldmine” and Bob Dylan‘s chameleonic shape-changing ways in “I’m Not There.” Now, Haynes turns his gaze to The Velvet Underground, the seminal 1960s art-rock group that arguably launched all forms of punk, art-rock, indie rock, and alternative music and made its primary singer/songwriter Lou Reed famous. But the Velvets weren’t just Reed, and essential to their success were musicians John Cale, Mo Tucker, Sterling Morrison, and perhaps to a lesser extent, but just as crucial to their story, German chanteuse Nico and artworld sensation Andy Warhol, who produced their first album and did the now-iconic artwork. In Haynes’ doc “The Velvet Underground,” the director charts their rise to fame and notoriety, their artworld crossover with Warhol’s Factory scene, and how the trailblazing group broke down doors and charted new musical territory with a sound brutal but also beautiful.
Apple TV+ is releasing the film on October 15, and today has released a new trailer. Here’s the long-form synopsis:
The Velvet Underground created a new sound that changed the world of music, cementing its place as one of rock ’n’ roll’s most revered bands. Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Todd Haynes, “The Velvet Underground” shows just how the group became a cultural touchstone representing a range of contradictions: the band is both of their time, yet timeless; literary yet realistic; rooted in high art and street culture. The film features in-depth interviews with the key players of that time combined with a treasure trove of never-before-seen performances and a rich collection of recordings, Warhol films, and other experimental art that creates an immersive experience into what founding member John Cale describes as the band’s creative ethos: “how to be elegant and how to be brutal.”
Also announced today is The Velvet Underground: A Documentary Film By Todd Haynes – Music From The Motion Picture Soundtrack, a 2-CD and digital soundtrack that features both well-known and rare Velvet Underground tracks, will be released on October 15, via Republic Records/UMe. Curated by the documentary’s director, Todd Haynes, and music supervisor Randall Poster, Music From The Motion Picture Soundtrack is the official soundtrack for the critically acclaimed documentary.
“The Velvet Underground” made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. Our review from Cannes called the film “superb… a film that should always be experienced at top volume.” Haynes’ first documentary, “The Velvet Underground,” premieres October 15 on Apple TV+. Watch the first trailer below.