Lou Reed’s debut film to premiere at Swiss festival

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The Independent Culture

Lou Reed will premiere his film Red Shirley on April 20 at the Visions du Réel international film festival in Nyon, Switzerland, reported the festival's website on March 29. Red Shirley is a narrative about the art-rocker's cousin on the eve of her 100th birthday.

Best known as the lead singer with The Velvet Undergound, and for a solo music career that has spanned more than threee decades, Reed makes his directorial debut with Red Shirley. In the documentary, the 68-year-old singer-songwriter interviews his cousin as she recounts her life, from her youth in Poland to her immigration to New York.

From the festival website:

"While Shirley's narrative first touches on the ordeal of two world wars and the disappearance of her family - 'whom Hitler took care of' -, it takes an unexpected turn. We learn that she left Poland on her own in 1938 at the age of 19 years, with only two suitcases and a few dollars in her pocket to travel to Montreal - where in six months she was to learn not French but the mandolin! - before finally slipping off illegally to New York, buried under the goods on a truck. There she was to become a dressmaker and to lead the workers' demands - hence her nickname Red Shirley, which gave the film its title."

The film premieres April 20 as part of the Tendances (Trends) section of the festival. The 16th edition of the Visions du Réel, which runs April 15-21, will include screenings of 160 international documentaries about politics, the economy, family, and many other themes.