Nico Icon :: Documentary (1995)


“She was almost proud of the fact that her teeth were rotten, that her hair was grey…her skin was bad, she had needle tracks all over. She liked that. That was her aesthetic.”

The above quote, attributed to  James Young – Nico’s keyboard player from 1981-86 – summarizes the often harrowing watch that is filmmaker  Susanne Ofteringer’s 1995 documentary, Nico Icon. It was Young who penned the fascinating on-the road-with-Nico tell all, Songs They Don’t Play On The Radio, chronicling his days in her ad hoc touring band. But unlike Young’s book, which is frequently injected with (and buoyed by) levity, Ofteringer’s Icon is a meditative, often dark, look at the woman born Christa Pî¤ffgen. While hardly wholly representative of Nico the artist/muse/person, the film is an engaging 67 minutes beginning with Nico’s early years modeling in Germany and France, onto to her Zelig-like existence moving through sixties pop culture (Alain Delon, Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol…) and beyond. And it’s the beyond, Nico’s “desire for her own annihilation”, and heroin, that looms heavily over the remainder of the film.

Nico :: Sixty Forty (Icon version)

Nico Icon is once again (at the time of this writing) available to stream, in full, via Youtube.

Do our interviews, mixtapes, features, essays, and original sessions make your listening life better?  Help us continue doing it by pledging your support via our Patreon page. Doing so will get you access to our secret stash—including bonus audio, exclusive podcasts, printed ephemera, and vinyl records—and help us keep an independent publication going. 

9 thoughts on “Nico Icon :: Documentary (1995)

  1. i love to remember me seeing her all alone with her mechanical organ in the middle of the night when we were young

  2. hate to say, but this documentary made me rethink my love of Nico, and turned me off from anything she was associated with for a few years. One person after another said in effect that she was an emotionless bore, and the story culminated her in her dying in a boring way, while managing to turn her son onto heroin in the process. Some people shouldn’t have documentaries.

  3. “Beautiful”? ok, say yes. but there are So many, so many who are beautiful.
    Does one “love” beauty? Maybe the love is in movement, expressions, touch, meaning in a few words… meaning in reactions to ” whatever”.
    Now… in some of her early songs, THAT has beauty. In some later ones, with awareness of the life path… poignant and sad. “Art” in her image and acting, song.
    At least, Warhol enjoyed himself. There is Lou Reed,
    in his music… yes… beauty. Morrison, an ironic companion.
    By the end of the film I am rewinding to the beginning as cure for the depression….
    Our totally lovable pug is named NICO, SO i looked for the film, and photos.
    pug Nico is loving and happy. Loves peanut butter and rides. Sleeps in our bed, snores.
    Always glad to wake in the night with Nico snoring gently at my side. Nico the muse.. beauty and art… would be such pain and need… Yes, did once meet Nico the Warhol Star, but that was long ago in a lost world..of the desparate lost. Today… ahhh.. gardens, light on water, our Nico pug, and all the people one loves… smiles watching someone discover music… allow this… such blessings and endless Gratitude.

Comments are closed.