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Nomi Song, The

Nomi Song, The
Scene from "The Nomi Song" (photo © Julie Jacobs)

Looks like an alien, sings like a diva - Klaus Nomi was one of 1980s most profoundly bizarre appearances. He was a cult figure in the New Wave Underground scene who sang pop music like opera and brought opera to club audiences. He was a performer with a "look" so strong, that his first audiences went wild before he even opened his mouth. On the verge of international fame as a singer, he instead became one of the first prominent artists to die of AIDS. But the reaction Klaus Nomi provoked was so strong, that he is still unforgettable, even 20 years after his death.

Nomi constructed his own myth out of elements so completely "wrong", yet so deliberate, that it all seemed oddly possible. He was an alien amongst the outcasts, a tortured soul who also radiated optimism at a time when optimism was "officially" out of fashion. He was as much a genuine talent as he was the engine of his own destruction. His appeal is not easy to explain in words. He has to be seen - and heard - to be believed.

It is hard to limit this film to being called a documentary. It is rather a non-fiction film, maybe even an oral history. But it's also visual, partly because Nomi himself was so visual, someone who's main concern was putting forth an image of himself in everything he did - literally illustrated by the photos, films, videos and artworks that go with it.

What unifies the various stylistic elements is Klaus Nomi himself, not only the all-pervasive image he put out, but more importantly, his effect on others. It's a story that grows out of a group of people who influenced him, loved him, felt pity for him or betrayed by him, yet above all, were inspired by him.

The Nomi Song is a story of the love of music and the love of performing and a time when it seemed as though everyone was struck by a sense of urgency to make something - or anything - and the feeling that "somewhere in the great cosmic plan we all knew that we only had a finite amount of time together and we had to make the most of it."
Genre Music, Biopic
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2004
Director Andrew Horn
Cinematography Mark Daniels
Angela Christlieb, Guido Krajewski
Ruth Peyser
Producers Thomas Mertens, Annette Pisacane, Andrew Horn
Production Companies CV Films/Berlin, Cameo Film & Fernsehproduktion/Cologne, in co-production with ZDF
Runtime 98 min
Format 35 mm, color, b&w
 English/German with English subtitles
Sound Technology Dolby Stereo
Festivals Berlin 2004 (Panorama), Denver 2004, London 2004, Sydney 2004, Ljubljana 2004
Awards Teddy Award Berlin 2004 for Best Documentary

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