Thursday, March 26, 2009
Day Sixty-Six: The Nomi Song (2004) - Rank 4/5
Ever since I first learned about the brief existence of Klaus Nomi, I've been fascinated in this surreal icon from the early 1980's. A performer capable of reaching notes so high, they seem to defy the physical abilities of man. An individual so bizarre that many regarded him as some sort of alien - including himself. "Nomi Song" traces Nomi's humble beginnings as a pastry chef in the East Village of New York to a near sensation after performing as a backup singer for David Bowie on Saturday Night Live. The bizarre nature of his music absolutely has to be heard to be believed. While distinctly a representative of the early 1980's to a certain degree, there are many qualities about his singing that can only be described as "otherworldly."
If interested in learning more about Nomi, as I was, then "The Nomi Song" is certainly a must-see. There is a bevy of archival footage, featuring Nomi on stage as the slow evolution of his character takes place. However, the documentary has it's limitations, too. The primary aspect it seems to bemusing is examination. We're shown all the atypical characteristics to Nomi's life, but director Andrew Horn never seems curious enough to delve into the "why." To me, after you introduce Nomi and his world, the most logical thing to do would be to uncover the method behind the madness, so to speak. Why did he take on the specific persona he did? What were his relationships with the fans like? What were his insights on his own career? While many of these questions can never be answered since Nomi died 25 years ago, Horn could have taken a different approach to the interviews of Nomi's still-living friends to determine the crux behind his character. Horne did not choose to do this though, and so, in the end, we are given a fair amount of information on the performer, yet are left with more questions than we started with.
Watch the Trailer