Lou Reed's Berlin (12A)

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The Independent Culture

With characteristic self-esteem, Julian Schnabel personally introduces this concert film of his friend, Lou Reed, performing his Berlin album at a Brooklyn hall in December 2006.

The album flopped on its release in 1973, and at times you can see why. It's not just the depressive material – it narrates the story of a doomed party-girl and mother called Caroline – it's Reed's gruff and tuneless delivery that challenges one's enjoyment. He's not exactly a charismatic frontman, either, and the inserted fragments of Caroline's story (played by Emmanuelle Seigner) don't provide sufficient distraction. But the concert ends strongly with the two best songs ("The Kids" and "Sad Song"), bolstered by a girls' choir, a seven-piece orchestra and Antony (without the Johnsons), whose voice provides pointed contrast to Reed's dismal croak.