Todd Haynes’ Velvet Underground is dedicated to Jonas Mekas; and the avant-garde permeates the whole film, whether it’s in its use of films by experimental filmmakers (and I recognised snippets of Maya Deren, John Smith, Kenneth Anger, Mekas himself, and others), poetry (Gisnburg), Pop Art (Warhol of course, but also whole array of Factory output is featured), musique concrete, queer cultures from the Kennedy era onwards, and so on. The film develops chronologically but feels synchronic through its use of split screens always playing with and against each other, bringing in other references and contexts, not usually used as mere illustration. It’s narrated but feels polyvocal through its uses of various voices and perspectives, both past and contemporary. A magnificent job of digging up archival footage, and a magnificent job of sculpting a structure through the editing, both of the images and the music, of which the film increased my understanding. David Bowie, Jonathan Richman, Amy Taubin appear to enhance understanding, which is occasionally also an understanding of limitations. The most arresting moment is Reed, looking gorgeous, wearing shiny but dirty metallic nail-polish, chatting to a very tired looking Warhol about painting and who of the Velvets he’s still in touch with. I loved it.