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A look into the many lives of Christa Päffgen, otherwise known as Nico; from cutie German mädchen to the first of the supermodels, to glamorous diva of the Velvet Underground, to cult item,... See full summary »


Susanne Ofteringer


Susanne Ofteringer (screenplay)

On Disc

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4 wins. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Nico ... Herself (archive footage)
Tina Aumont ... Herself
Christian Päffgen Christian Päffgen ... Himself (as Ari Boulogne)
Edith Boulogne Edith Boulogne ... Herself
Jackson Browne ... Himself
John Cale ... Himself
Danny Fields Danny Fields ... Himself
Carlos De Maldonado-Bostock Carlos De Maldonado-Bostock ... Himself
Jonas Mekas ... Himself
Paul Morrissey ... Himself
Sterling Morrison Sterling Morrison ... Himself
Billy Name Billy Name ... Himself
Nikos Papatakis Nikos Papatakis ... Himself (as Nico Papatakis)
Lutz Ulbrich Lutz Ulbrich ... Himself
Viva ... Herself


A look into the many lives of Christa Päffgen, otherwise known as Nico; from cutie German mädchen to the first of the supermodels, to glamorous diva of the Velvet Underground, to cult item, junkie and hag. Many faces for the same woman, whom, you realize, just couldn't bring herself to care enough to live. Written by Miguel Cane <Stepford@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Model, Pop Star, Goddess, Junkie, Icon.




Germany | USA


English | German

Release Date:

16 November 1995 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Nico: Regrets? I've got no regrets... except that I was born a woman instead of a man.
See more »


Features Sweet Skin (1963) See more »


All Saint's Nights
Composed by Nico and James Young
Performed by Nico
See more »

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User Reviews

Pretty nice to look at, but not that representative
25 February 2003 | by Boris-57See all my reviews

As a big time nico-fan who has spent an unreasonable amount of money on all sorts of semi- and unofficial stuff of her, I must say that, when I came out of the movie theatre, I had quite a good feeling about this docu. Some call it a lie, but then again, wasn't Nico one of the first to invent/reinvent any part of her life as she saw fit? To add some drama? This piece of docu is pretty nice to look at, and, despite being not entirely chronological, forms a whole to me.

This said, it is indeed true that it is not that representative, and that the "whole" it constructs might not exactly be Nico. But still. Indeed, there is a lot of focus on negative aspects of her life, but then again, you can hardly find a career of 6 studio albums and some unfinished material for a potential new one in the span of 20 years prolific, can you? And it is a fact that, while before she got hooked on H she recorded 3 albums in 3 years (two of which were astonishing pieces of unheard of music that she wrote entirely by herself), once she got addicted her creativity went downhill, if not as much in quality than in quantity. The touring became a way of bringing home the bacon, while performing the same songs over and over again. In an impressive way, alright, but still the same. Frequent touring is no substitute for creativity. Look at what John Cale has been doing for the last 15 years. He has accomplished some impressive creative feats, true, but a lot of his stuff is soundtrack-muzak and the shows are copies of his first solo shows in the early 80's.

But back to the documentary. Indeed, more unique footage would have been welcome and the complete omission of Drama of Exile is unforgivable. Furthermore, this story would have clearly illustrated how deep downhill it had gone, since Nico sold the incomplete master tapes because she needed the money (guess what for) - and they recorded a second version. But still, it's negative. With the Lutz Ulbrich-interview you get the impression that they leave a lot out of the picture and instead focus on the point where Ulbrich says he can't understand how a mother could introduce her own son to the needle (true...). What about Ulbrich's involvement in her last show (on cd as Fata Morgana), for which she seemed to have taken a new start, with wonderful new material!

What's more important, it does not, apart from a few things, shed any light on the why and how of Nico's oeuvre. And this may indeed be a very difficult task, mainly because Nico was not exactly an art-explainer, which is good. That's why one might say that this documentary, as a provider of information on Nico, falls short. The beauty was in the music, and it was and is exactly its force that it needs no further explanation. Furthermore, the docu will leave fans unsatisfied and will not gain Nico a new audience, for with her music it's simple: you love it or you hate it to bits. And anyone open to its unworldly beauty will inevitably find it, documentary or not. The others will keep away, and this docu will not change their minds.

But, after all, it's nice that at least a documentary is made on her. It would be greater still if in some future, the excellent interviews would be used by someone else to make a real, full documentary, with a focus on the work and its evolution, and not on her personality problems, for though they were part of the process, they were no part of the results.

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