Nico, 1988

Susanna Nicchiarelli Italy 2017, 93 min

Please don’t call her Nico or ‘Andy Warhol’s muse'. And Crista Päffgen doesn’t want to talk about her brief period with The Velvet Underground some two decades later. For her, life started only after that illustrious period, even though reporters and admirers are generally less interested in her own solo career or ideas.

The biopic Nico, 1988 follows Nico, AKA the German Päffgen, in the last two years of her life, during international performances – occasionally phenomenal, sometimes embarrassing – while she tries to build a bond with her suicidal son and openly shoots up heroin as a pick-me-up.

Susanna Nicchiarelli does not condemn her, nor does she romanticise her. In that context, actress and vocalist Trine Dyrholm (Kollektivet, Festen) is wonderful as an uncompromising Christa/Nico. She makes her hard, yet also vulnerable; occasionally regrettable, but never pitiful. She isn’t sympathetic – and yet empathy is unavoidable for this woman who goes on where others would have stopped long ago.

This film and Q&A was aired on Sunday 28 January

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