Nick Cave is one of those musicians that although we know he has been around for some time and his marionette like performance onstage is bigger than life itself, it still feels like the man is a bit of a mystery. When it was announced that there was going to be a film made I think every fans heart skipped a beat as at last, we were going to find out a bit more about the man we feel we know everything yet nothing about.
But let us step back a bit. 20,000 Days on Earth combines both reality and drama, a fictitious 24 hours delving into the creative process courtesy of innovative visual artists Iain Forsythe and Jane Pollard who have worked with Nick on various projects over the past few years. Nick says of the pair:
“I’ve always liked their unorthodox approaches to things and on a personal level we have always gotton on very well. I invited them into La Fabrique Studios to film some promotional footage for the new record Push The Sky Away. As it turned out, in the end, they shot everything and the studio footage was so compelling we decided to expand the idea”.
Usually camera-shy, the directors realised that this was a fantastic opportunity to watch him work and found how he was surprisingly “brutal with ideas, songs mutate at speed and lyrics are slashed and forgotten” says Pollard. Nick agreed to hand over his notebooks one of which held a calculation to work out how many days he had been alive for on the day they began recording the album hence the name of the film.
Ideas and concepts for the film were spawned whilst looking through his notebooks. He didn’t want just another fly on the wall documentary, they wanted to work with Nick to show how his creative process would be transformed into something quite magical, showing how much he is not a just your average rock star, he is someone who has created their own path and persona to become the Nick Cave and we all know and love.
So, for such a private person did Nick really want to do this film? The answer to that is yes and no. Hesitant on undertaking such a thing Nick was very suspicious of such biographies and documentaries but knowing that the directors were primarily artists rather than journalists after a big scoop, he believed they had an original idea.
The directors were interested in looking at more universal themes such as morality, our time on earth and how we spend that time but with a touch of humour, the documentary reflects this balance of both being moving yet funny.
Forysth and Pollard say that “our way of making art is to start by defining the emotion we want the person experiencing it to feel, with 20,000 Days on Earth it is about letting other people feel what you feel when you get to know Nick. You’re inspired and impressed. We want you to get to the end of the film and feel fired up, to think, ‘I need to be better, I need to do more’. Anybody can have an idea. You’ve just got to see it through”.
Set in Nick’s adopted home of Brighton the film is based around two key scenes. A meeting with a psychoanalyst and a visit to a reassembled Nick Cave archive. Both spontaneous and unplanned, the audience will get to experience Nick Cave as Nick Cave first hand, capturing the essence of the man. Through this we meet people who have shown some importance in his career such as Kylie Minogue, Ray Winstone and long term friend and former Bad Seed Blixa Bargeld.
This film is not a tell all, expose all. It is a film that will captivate and inspire you.