Heard on CultureShift

Now Showing at the Detroit Film Theatre: “The Velvet Underground”

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Image credit: archival photography / "Velvet Underground" documentary

The documentary “The Velvet Underground” profiles the band and the larger New York City arts scene that birthed it. It’s showing at the Detroit Film Theatre and online via AppleTV+.

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CultureShift on 101.9 WDET-FM gives you a front-row seat to the latest films playing at the Detroit Film Theatre (DFT).

Jake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET

Since 1974, DFT director Elliot Wilhelm has curated the films shown in this historic theater inside the Detroit Institute of Arts. The DFT recently kicked off its 2021 fall season. The full schedule, tickets and information about COVID-19 protocols for patrons who are attending can be found via DFT’s website.

Now Showing: “The Velvet Underground” documentary 

Given the ingeniously imagined musical worlds of “Velvet Goldmine” and “I’m Not There,” it should come as no surprise that Todd Haynes’ documentary about the seminal band The Velvet Underground mirrors its members’ experimentation and formal innovation. 


Listen: DFT director Elliot Wilhelm breaks down the new “Velvet Underground” documentary.


Combining contemporary interviews and archival documentation with a trove of avant-garde film from the era, Haynes constructs a vibrant cinematic collage that is as much about New York of the ’60s as it is about the rise and fall of one of rock ’n’ roll’s most revered bands. A group that became a cultural touchstone by being of their time, yet timeless; literary yet realistic; rooted in high art and street culture. 

Filmed with the cooperation of surviving band members, this multifaceted portrait folds in an array of participants in the creative scene’s cultures and subcultures. Using a treasure trove of never-before-seen performances and a vast collection of recordings, Warhol films and other experimental art, Haynes unearths rich detail about Warhol, The Factory, Lou Reed, Nico and more, adding context and texture that never diminishes the ultimate enigma of the band’s power. (120 minutes)

The Velvet Underground” documentary is showing Friday, Oct. 15 through Sunday, Oct. 17 with multiple showtimes. More information via the Detroit Film Theatre’s website.

Detroit Film Theatre director Elliot Wilhelm contributed to this web story.

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