Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart


Middle 40-60% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

1998 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Documentary Competition

Non-Cast Credits

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Karen Bernstein, Susan Lacy, Tamar Hacker, Frank DeMarco, John Chimpeles, Jed Parker, Kate Schmitz, Lou Reed


There are only a few icons of rock and roll whom one might choose to designate as significant artists, but as Lou Reed: Rock ond Roll Heart so emphatically underscores, Reed is hardly your typical rock-and-roll musician. Produced as part of the outstanding "American Masters" series for public television, Lou Reed is as much an engrossing portrait of the man as it is a walk through the turbulent and fascinating times which shaped his music. The critical accolade "seminal" is applied all too frequently to artists who really don't deserve it, but when referring to Reed, it almost seems like understatement. David Bowie, Patti Smith, Talking Heads, REM, and U2 are some of the most esteemed artists in contemporary music over the last two decades and are distinctly different. Yet all would credit Reed as a formative influence. The Velvet Underground, Reed's first band, is regarded almost mythically today, and filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders greatly enhances our understanding as to why that's the case,

Utilizing archival film, still photographs, interviews, and original footage of Reed at concerts and readings around the world, GreenfieldSanders transcends the limitations of biopic glorification. Instead he offers what is sometimes a very personal, and at others an objective perspective on a complicated and very eclectic artist, With an absolutely stellar list of interviewees, including fellow artists, critics, and various poets, novelists, and personalities from the past, Lou Reed is an exceptional documentary account of one of today's major creative figures.


Geoffrey Gilmore (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.