Nico Icon

on November 16, 1995 by Pat Kramer
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   A documentary about the rough-voiced siren from the '60s avant-garde rock group "The Velvet Underground," "Nico Icon" is a powerful, often disturbing portrayal of a woman haunted by her elevation to icon status for little more than her physical attributes. Nico rose to fame after appearing in Fellini's 1960 film, "La Dolce Vita," and Andy Warhol's "Chelsea Girls" in 1966, but she died a drug addict at age 42.
   Through interviews (some in foreign languages, with subtitling onscreen too short a time to read in full) conducted with Nico's family, friends, bandmates and lovers, filmmaker Susanne Ofteringer creates a larger-than-life image of this eccentric. Uncomfortable with the fame her beauty brought her, Nico shunned the public and sought refuge in a heroin habit. The film details her progression from lovely blonde teenage model to gaunt, black hair-dyed solo artist who seemed drawn more to death than to life. The film also benefits from having plenty of photos and film footage of Nico reflecting on a variety of subjects.    Directed and written by Susanne Ofteringer. Produced by Annette Pisa-cane and Thomas Mertens. A Roxie release. Documentary. Some French- and German-language; subtitled. Unrated. Running time: 75 min.
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