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Nico, 1988 is a 2017 English-language Italian-Belgian biographical film based on pop singer Nico: it was directed by Susanna Nicchiarelli and shot in English language.[1] The film had its world premiere at the Venice Festival on 31 August 2017.[2]

Nico, 1988
Nico, 1988 poster.jpg
Directed bySusanna Nicchiarelli
Screenplay bySusanna Nicchiarelli
StarringTrine Dyrholm
John Gordon Sinclair
CinematographyCrystel Fournier
Edited byStefano Cravero
Distributed byMagnolia Pictures
Release date
  • 30 August 2017 (2017-08-30) (Venice Film Festival)
  • 12 October 2017 (2017-10-12) (Italy)
  • 1 April 2018 (2018-April-01) (France)
  • 20 July 2018 (2018-07-20) (Germany)
  • 2 August 2018 (2018-08-02) (United States)
Running time
93 minutes
LanguageEnglish [1]




The movie was a collaboration between the director and main actress Trine Dyrholm; they co-created the character. Dyrholm stated: "We created this version of Nico together".[3] Dyrholm sang all the songs in the movie; she restructured the music with a musician and a band. They worked into a music studio before shooting.[4] Nicchiarelli did a lot of research and she flew to Manchester to meet Nico's manager. She also interviewed Nico's son, Ari. He read the first draft and later the final script.[5]

The film was shot in the square format instead of rectangular format. Nicchiarelli explained: "One of the main choices was the atmosphere of the second half of the 1980s which is very interesting; it has the decadence and the quality of the VHS. They worked on the quality of the VHS and tried to reproduce that, that kind of feeling. VHS and television are square format and it forces you to stay on the characters. I think it is interesting when cinema goes back to the square. Lately, some of the best films I've seen are square".[5]

Nicchiarelli used images of the real Nico's faces and early video footage of Jonas Mekas. She wrote to him and he answered her immediately. Nicchiarelli said: "It is fun to work with archive material in fiction movies".[5]


The movie went to general release in the US in early August 2018. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 94% based on 62 reviews, with an average rating of 7.2/10. The website's critical consensus reads; "Nico, 1988 takes an absorbing – and appropriately idiosyncratic – look at the singer's later years."[6] On Metacritic, the film has an average weighted score of 75 out of 100, based on 21 critics, indicating "favorable reviews".[7]

Dyrholm, who played Nico, received critical acclaim for her performance. Variety hailed her as "a powerhouse of authenticity. Her moroseness is mesmerizing, but she also gives Nico a tense intelligence, and her singing is uncanny."[2] The Los Angeles Times also raved about Dyrholm as "an actress of formidable presence", giving "strong, truthful, unflinching performance that powers the film the way Christa's energy powered the bands she was in those late days".[8] The New York Times also praised how Dyrholm was photographed in "brutally unforgiving close-up", saying that it "fully captures the faded charisma of the singer" in the last year of her existence.[9] Joe Morgenstern in Wall Street Journal emphased, saying: "I’ve never seen a performance quite like it — unsparingly harsh, but also graceful, droll and tender, a portrait of soul-weariness laced with a yearning for salvation."[10]

At the Venice Film Festival in 2017, it won the Orrizonti Award for Best Film.[11] At the Donatellos in 2018, (which work in Italy on the same criteria as the Oscars), it won the Best Original Script award,[12] and was nomimated in the Best Films category.[13] At the 9th Magritte Awards, it received a nomination in the category of Best Foreign Film in Coproduction.[14]


  1. ^ a b "Nico, 1988. Official trailer". Youtube. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  2. ^ a b Gleiberman, Owen (2017-08-30). "Film Review: 'Nico, 1988'". Variety. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  3. ^ "Nico, 1988 | Special" [Interview with the director and main actress about their collaboration]. YouTube. 17 April 2018. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  4. ^ "Nico, 1988 | Special" [interview about the recording of the music before shooting. YouTube. 17 April 2018. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  5. ^ a b c IFFR Live: Nico, 1988 interactive Q&A with Susanna Nicchiarelli and Trine Dyrholm. YouTube. 7 February 2018. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  6. ^ "Nico, 1988 (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  7. ^ "Nico, 1988 - Critic reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  8. ^ Turan, Kenneth (3 August 2018). "Nico, 1988 review". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  9. ^ Jeannette Catsoulis. "Nico, 1988 review". NY Times. 31 July 2018. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  10. ^ Joe Morgenstern. "Nico. 1988 review". 2 August 2018. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  11. ^ Awards of the 74th Venice Film Festival. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  12. ^ "David Di Donatello Awards 2018 Result [Vincitori Premi David Di Donatello 2018]". Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  13. ^ "Academy of the Italian Cinema - candidates for the David Di Donatello Awards 2018". Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  14. ^ Roxborough, Scott (14 January 2019). "'Girl,' 'Above the Law' Lead Belgium Film Award Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 14 January 2019.

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