Saturday, 20 February 2016

Nico's Inner Scar

I’ve been listening to Nico’s Desertshore album these past few days and last night I sought out La Cicatrice Intérieure (The Inner Scar), Philippe Garrel’s 1972 film which stars Nico and features 4 songs from Desertshore (and in return gifted Nico’s album with two stills from the film). In this surreal episodic film, comprised of just 20-odd shots, Nico plays an anguished, hysterical woman who wanders through a series of landscapes and encounters a man who may or may not be the Devil, a little boy who leads her on a horse (a shot lifted for the cover of Desertshore), a shepherd tending to his flock, and a naked huntsman. And that’s about it for any semblance of plot, the film’s ritualized images and sparse dialogue, spoken in English, German and French (which should be experienced without subtitles in accordance with the director’s wishes), doesn’t lend itself to easy interpretation but fortunately the film is visually stunning, filmed in the vast elemental landscapes of Death Valley, North Africa and Iceland. Nico herself cuts a striking figure in the film, haunted and haggard looking, she and Philippe Garrel, her lover at the time were in the depths of heroin addiction during the making of the film.

In addition to the 4 songs from Desertshore, the film also features the song König from the same album sessions, and later re-recorded for her 1985 album Camera Obscura. La Cicatrice Intérieure is available on DVD in France (billed with another Garrel film, 1983’s Liberté, la Nuit, sans subtitles of course!) or alternatively the complete 58min film has been uploaded here Highly recommended for fans of esoterica but try to see this one on as large a screen as possible…

No comments:

Post a Comment