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by Karin Fisslthaler

grade: 7.5

*Women (Nico), starting from the figure of the legendary singer, opens up a complex and topical discourse, immediately taking on universal connotations and, at the same time, paying homage to an artist who shaped the history of music (and pop culture) of the last century. At the festival Sotto le Stelle dell’Austria 2023.

One Nico, many Nico

The musician, model and actress Nico (1938 – 1988), born Christa Päffgen, became a true legend over the years thanks to her remarkable talent and her eventful life, which unfortunately ended too soon. Many artists (also in the film industry, of course) have consequently been inspired by her iconic figure in creating works that each time show us a new aspect of the life of the singer from Cologne. Just think of the feature film Nico, 1988, made in 2017 by Susanna Nicchiarelli, just to give one example. Remaining in the cinematic sphere, another equally noteworthy work is the musical short film *Women (Nico), made by Karin Fisslthaler, already presented at the Tricky Women/Tricky Realities Film Festival in Vienna and premiered in Italy on the occasion of the festival Sotto le Stelle dell’Austria 2023.

In *Women (Nico), therefore, we see a photograph of Nico (strictly in black and white) that is continuously disassembled, cut into numerous pieces and reassembled as if it were a collage. The image of the singer thus takes on, at times, almost abstract connotations, and thanks also to appropriate electronic music by Cherry Sunkist, what we see on screen is a true visual (and auditory) experience.

Nico’s life, as we know, has not always been easy. In the same way, then, we see how her own picture is each time cut into numerous pieces, in turn arranged in the form of abstract compositions. Towards the end of the short film, moreover, we even see how the aforementioned photograph (this time finally in one piece) is crumpled up, and then goes back exactly as it was before. As if nothing had happened. And so, the extraordinary resilience that characterised the artist’s life is here perfectly depicted by Karin Fisslthaler in a completely subjective and visually captivating way, within a short film in which images and music are presented as two merging entities.

Yet, *Women (Nico) is not just that. *Women (Nico), in fact, starting from the legendary figure of the singer, opens up a much more complex and topical discourse. The Nico of this little and precious short film by Karin Fisslthaler, in fact, represents all the women of the past and of today who every day have to face numerous battles in order to assert their rights, to make their voices heard, to finally be happy. And so, we see how this short film immediately takes on universal connotations, at the same time paying homage to an artist who shaped the history of music (and pop culture) of the last century. A little sincere tribute to her and to all women who make the world we live in a better place every day.

Original title: *Women (Nico)
Directed by: Karin Fisslthaler
Country/year: Austria / 2021
Running time: 2’
Genre: animation, musical
Screenplay: Karin Fisslthaler
Cinematography: Karin Fisslthaler
Produced by: Karin Fisslthaler

Info: the page of *Women (Nico) on the website of Karin Fisslthaler; the page of *Women (Nico) on the website of the Diagonale