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Lou Reed’s epic contribution to cinema

Video by Luke SHRAGO

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-10-28

Lou Reed, who died Sunday, inspired a generation of musicians. His music was also taken up by a raft of film-makers and some of his best-known music has entered the collective consciousness through his contribution to cinema.

Lou Reed, who died in New York on Sunday aged 71, was an icon of American rock ‘n’ roll, leaving an indelible legacy of unique and unforgettable music that deals with life at the margins of society, pursuing themes of sex, love and drug addiction – themes beloved of the film industry.

And while Reed, unlike peers Iggy Pop and David Bowie, made very few appearances on the silver screen himself, his songs played central roles in a plethora of cult films.

"Perfect Day" - Trainspotting (1996)

“Perfect Day”, an ambiguous love song addressed either to a woman or to an illicit substance, accompanies Scottish junkie Mark “Rent Boy” Renton’s (Ewan McGregor) descent into the hell of heroin addiction – a condition Reed was extremely familiar with – in Danny Boyle’s hit film “Trainspotting”.

"This Magic Moment" - Lost Highway (1997)

David Lynch’s Lost Highway, a thriller that melds dream and reality, includes Lou Reed’s cover of 60s classic “This Magic Moment”. Reed’s unique voice transcends Lynch’s surreal and experimental direction, bringing its own musical magic to the film.

"Satellite of Love" - Velvet Goldmine (1998)

Taking a close look at the glam rock years, and inspired largely by David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust” character, Velvet Goldmine features Reed’s 1972 classic “Satellite of Love”, a song that marked the beginning of his solo career and was produced by Bowie himself.

"Stephanie Says" – The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

Director Wes Anderson is known for promoting the work of original artists and musicians in his films. The Royal Tenenbaums features Lou Reed’s “Stephanie Says”, a fitting musical complement to the director's off-beat and meticulous style.

Faraway, so close! (1993)

Wim Wenders’ “Faraway, so close!”, a sequel to his earlier “Wings of Desire”, is one of the rare films that includes Lou Reed in an acting role. The singer plays a cameo of himself in full creative mode in Berlin, the name given to one of his landmark albums.

Date created : 2013-10-28


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