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Lou Reed makes directorial debut with film about 99-year-old cousin

on April 01, 2010, 1:15pm

Everybody knows that Lou Reed can make music; and if you want it to be especially noisy, he’s willing and able to do just that. But now picture Mr. Velvet Underground as something other than an art rock frontiersman. How about a documentary filmmaker who pulls at your heart strings? Not the definition of a seamless transition, but Reed’s documentary film Red Shirley proves that if anyone can make the shift, he can.

According to The Guardian, the 28-minute film, which was done in a collaboration with photographer Ralph Gibson will be Reed’s directorial debut. And while you might expect some obscure or artsy topic, Reed aims to tell the story of his cousin Shirley Novick as she approaches her 100th birthday.

“We learn that she left Poland on her own in 1938 at the age of 19,” reads the program notes, “with only two suitcases and a few dollars in her pocket to travel to Montreal – where in six months she was to learn not French but the mandolin! – before finally slipping off illegally to New York, buried under the goods on a truck. There she was to become a dressmaker and to lead the workers’ demands – hence her nickname Red Shirley, which gave the film its title.”

And in case you were wondering, Reed will appear on screen to converse and share some heartwarming moments with his cousin. Not only that, but Reed and his band the Metal Machine Trio also scored the soundtrack. Red Shirley will make its debut at Switzerland’s Visions du Réel festival on May 20th and will be followed up by a poetry performance by Reed.

Enjoy the trailer below.

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