Avicii: True Stories

Tim Bergling, you may know, was a world-famous DJ known as Avicii who first became famous when he was just 21. He toured the world, and every night was a party. But wall-to-wall parties and drinks by the trough soon take their toll. Struck down by pancreatitis in part due to excessive drinking, Avicii was crippled with pain and constant health scares. But it wasn’t just his physical health that impaired him. Performing at shows created huge anxiety on a daily basis that just became intolerable. Even after a nice long break, Avicii isn’t any better prepared to keep up the grueling pace. So he makes a decision that takes the world by surprise: he retires from touring. He’s 26, and he’s retiring.

The documentary, by Levan Tsikurishvili, gets very intimate with Avicii. It follows him mv5bzmqwzwnkzjytmgu4zi00ogy5lwi5ztytm2yxyzrjnwvlmtzlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvyntqznzyyoty@._v1_sx1777_cr0,0,1777,999_al_extensively. The camera knows him well, and Avicii is fairly open with this struggles, although he, and the documentary, like the world, tend to emphasize physical health over mental health. Watching this, it really strikes me how many of these documentaries we’ve seen lately – the overwhelming fame that leads to tragedy. Except this documentary, curiously, doesn’t hint at the tragedy. It ends on a positive, optimistic note – that having retired from touring, Avicii is free to continue making music, which clearly does make him happy, on his own time, at his own pace, without the crippling anxiety. We saw goodbye to him on a tropical island, enjoying a sun-filled vacation.

But Avicii doesn’t get this happy ending. He died 8 months ago, of wounds self-inflicted with a broken wine bottle. So it breaks my heart because he hoped and believed that retirement was the answer, and it turned out not to be. And now he’s just another illustration of depression having such far-reaching fingers that even the rich and famous are not immune. And though this documentary came out after his death and had every opportunity to speak towards mental health, it mostly chooses not to, not even acknowledging its subject’s death. It’s a weird, unsettling choice that casts a shadow over the documentary’s authenticity.





10 thoughts on “Avicii: True Stories

  1. Vigour of Film Lines

    Agreed. My explanation would be that Avicii’s music was truly life-affirming, presenting an eschatological view of salvation through love; his music served as an anti-depressant for the millenials. I guess that the producers of the documentary wanted to retain that image. Unfortunately at the expense of the artist and truth. PR won against a humanistic approach. I wonder why it is not suprising at all… The image seems to be more valuable than the actual person and his sufferings.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Brittani

    I’m not very familiar with Avicii, it’s a shame he took his own life and that this doc doesn’t take the chance to talk about mental health. That’s even more depressing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jay Post author

      It creeps out in his own comments, but they shy away from it while putting his physical ailments on full display. But it was the former that killed him.



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