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‘The Velvet Underground’ Trailer: Todd Haynes Captures the Definitive NYC ’60s Rock Band

Haynes' portrait of the iconic group arrives in theaters and on Apple TV+ October 15.

The Velvet Underground

“The Velvet Underground”

YouTube/screenshot

Todd Haynes made it through the quarantine by hunkering down in Los Angeles and putting the finishing touches on his upcoming rock documentary “The Velvet Underground.” After a rapturous reception out of the Cannes Film Festival (where the “Carol” director is always warmly welcomed), his portrait of the definitive 1960s New York City rock band arrives in select theaters and globally on Apple TV+ on October 15. Watch the official trailer below.

Here’s the official synopsis:

The Velvet Underground created a new sound that changed the world of music, cementing its place as one of rock ’n’ roll’s most revered bands. Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Todd Haynes, “The Velvet Underground” shows just how the group became a cultural touchstone representing a range of contradictions: the band is both of their time, yet timeless; literary yet realistic; rooted in high art and street culture.

The film features in-depth interviews with the key players of that time combined with a treasure trove of never-before-seen performances and a rich collection of recordings, Warhol films, and other experimental art that creates an immersive experience into what founding member John Cale describes as the band’s creative ethos: “how to be elegant and how to be brutal.”

As Haynes told IndieWire during a Cannes Film Festival interview, the movie employs the style of avant-garde film because that’s exactly the movement that was informing The Velvet Underground’s music at the time. “This band was formed by the avant-garde cinema and culture of New York at this time,” Haynes said. “It was happening in every conceivable way around this band, whether it was [John] Cale living with Jack Smith on Ludlow Street or the band being asked to make music for one of Jonas [Menkas]’ multimedia film series at the cinematheque. Everything was just crossing these boundaries constantly.”

The research process took several years before Haynes sat down for the interviews. “I was testing instincts and assumptions and speculation, stuff that was in all the history I’d been researching that I suspected was there,” he said. “But I wanted to hear from the people who actually were there.”

Read IndieWire’s review of the film here.

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