ONE MORE TIME WITH FEELING [2016]

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Directed by Andrew Dominik

Starring: Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds


Awkwardly paced at times but brilliantly shot in black and white (using a 3D black and white camera, with no glasses needed), this is an extremely personal look into not just the creative process of Nick Cave, but much more importantly, how he uses this process to work through the grief of losing his son Arthur, to whom the film is dedicated, and how that traumatic event has changed him, as a person, as a writer, and as a musician.

He discusses this at length and Cave has such a way with words it is hard to not become entranced by his creative pondering and his overall world-view. He mentions at one point how important words are to our existence, our consciousness, and obviously to him. There is no doubt that he is a very interesting man, and we are lucky enough to get close to him via this film.

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The film feels very unscripted. Cave at times seems genuinely lost for words, sometimes stuttering to get his thoughts out. There is a lot of narration, and every word he says is worth savouring. We get close and personal, much unlike 20,000 Days, and we are fortunate to learn more about this enigmatic character at a time of extreme trauma. Kudos to Nick Cave for doing this, and Skeleton Tree is the result of a changed man with a changed approach to song writing, creativity, his relationship with his wife, and to life in general.

During the live takes of albums, the camera seems to endlessly spin around the group of musicians, which gets old and repetitive. And dizzying! This thankfully is broken up by many memorable cinematic moments during the takes, some hallucinatory in nature, adding to the overwhelming power that these performances possess. Unlike 20,000 Days, where we got a taste, here we see full performances of seven of the eight album tracks, witnessing just how these incredible tracks came to life.

Having missed the initial (one night only) screening which preceded the album launch, I have had many thorough listens to this new album. Nick explains how the album abandons the perfectionist attitude that they practised in the past, rather relying more on improvisation while jamming; that unspoken bond between musicians who have been working together for a long time. The result is a dark, atmospheric, almost desperate sounding record that is truly a result of Cave’s tragic loss, complete with Cave’s unique, off-beat lyrical style.

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Speaking of the other musicians, we get a fantastic insight into the role Warren Ellis plays when working with Cave. His ethereal, dreamy but dark sounds fill the song above, giving it an almost ominous sound. The two have a definite bond that has been developed over the years, a unique bond that only musicians can experience.

Cave tells how Warren can take the melodies he is singing, pick up a violin, or a synthesiser, take your pick, and using his musical wizardry he enhances these melodies into something Cave himself could never have dreamt of. No wonder the two are making their mark in the world of soundtracks, having scored Hell or High Water this year, with numerous older credits to their names too.

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The film is very raw, but one gets the sense that this was the aim. To make a documentary that truly digs into the deep and emotional waters of having lost a child, and how that changes a thinking man such as Cave. He even notes at one point, why the fuck am I here? I’d never have done this before! This informal nature of the presentation feels very real, and very apt, as there are a few awkward moments between Cave and the director that seem to have been intentionally not edited out.

Many scenes show us that Cave is still healing, and while he has still retained his sense of humour, one gets the feeling his smile is hiding a dark inner-self. When being interviewed it somehow feels like the impact of his loss has not hit him as hard as it will, despite having exorcised this album from his mind.

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And that there lies the point of the film. Creating this album has helped Cave make sense of a world suddenly changed beyond recognition, and at leastsix beer(1) for this man, and his wife who designs dresses, art is providing invaluable therapeutic benefits that we are luckily enough to witness on film. There is no doubt that the production of this album has helped Cave make ‘narrative sense’ of events, but he still appears to be very vulnerable despite being as articulate as always. Again, credit to the Cave family, as they have truly bared all for this production and it adds so much to the power of the album itself. Our world is better off with this enigmatic Aussie in it, even if he is experiencing grief unlike anything he has felt before.

A full sixer. One of the best documentaries I have seen. A very special film.

6/6

 

34 Comments on “ONE MORE TIME WITH FEELING [2016]

  1. This is such a superb write-up Jordan, it was really a pleasure to read it! And I can’t wait to see the documentary. As you said, our world is better with this Aussie in it (I couldn’t agree more!) and while I always admired him as a musician and a poet, I have a feeling that this film will make me appreciate him even more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks a lot Veronka 🙂

      Have you seen 20,000 Days on Earth? It explored his creative process, but didn’t get personal. This one is very personal obviously…. they would be amazing to watch one after the other.

      And I have a feeling that, like me, some of what Cave says will ring true to you. He just has such a way with words, and his ability to express himself in a variety of ways is quite extraordinary.

      Did you listen to any of the clips? One listen to one of the tracks and you can hear the pain. Its a dark album

      Like

  2. Wow – great post. Thank you for pointing me in the direction of this one. Sounds really, really interesting. Will definitely be tracking it down. Enjoy what’s left of your weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thankyou! It is an amazing doco, one of a kind. Never seen anything like it. The best doco about music I have ever seen. Seriously the scenes where we see the takes of each song are goddamn entrancing. Did you like either of the songs I posted?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, I really really dig those two songs you have included here. I honesty have no experience with Nick Cave’s sound (I was only barely aware of his sound track stuff). There is a lot of pain in this man, and that I can tell just by listening to these tracks. I must say, this film has now caught my attention thanks to your review. Good stuff buddy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks man. It is amazing how vulnerable Cave lets himself be on camera. And the performances are much like the clips, directed well. And yeah, you can hear the pain. The album has become on regular rotation for me, it often gives me chills.

      I really really want the fucker on blu-ray!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Totally, like 20,000 Days I’ll be buying this for all the extras and stuff.

        His insight into the creative process itself is really profound I think, I’ve never heard -anyone- talk about writing music/creativity like he does, nothing eve close.
        Have you seen 20,000 Days on Earth? It’s different but also fantastic, highly recommended!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh man….. be naught and download it 😛 the blu-ray is packed with juicy extras, but the film itself is incredible. Like I said, an unbelievable insight into the creative process, of writing, of creating… all by one of the most well-spoken men I have ever witnessed. Its a must watch man, I had never heard a Cave song… saw 20,000 Days and I was suddenly and instant fan.

        Well worth it mate. Hope you’re still enjoying Skeleton Tree, I can’t stop listening to it, especially seeing that movie with the actual final takes recorded live. Hopefully the new doco gets a release soon…. it premiered back in September so… hopefully early next year

        Liked by 1 person

      • oh, and I’m catching up on your blog when I get home today man, I’ve been away from the PC for a while. Crazy how many films you guys have to choose from. I don’t think there are more than ten playing here at the moment =/

        Oh, and if you’re interested, here is my short write-up about 20,000 Days. Its old, and you can tell. The writing sucks hahaha, but it gets my point across

        http://wp.me/p4P9IW-2M

        Like

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    • Oooo cool, I’ll have to have a read of that when I get home this arvo. I agree, such an incredibly sad but beautiful album, well said. I can’t help but listen to it every day.

      This annoyingly only screened for one night, I hope it hits BR soon as I wanna see it again. And again!! God, it is amazing how personal it is. Cave really is an open book in this one.

      Haver you seen 20,000 Days on Earth? Similar but also very different, its basically about Cave’s take on the creative process. I can’t help but be entranced by every word the guy says, even when he is talking normally. The guy is a true poet.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, a true poet. I saw the doc 20,000 Days on Earth you refer to, the conversations were revealing. I’ve actually listened to Cave’s entire 1984-2016 discography which I wrote about on my blog. I like his latest two albums a lot. Plan to check out his early Birthday Party stuff (1978-1983) maybe next year.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah I need to check out his older stuff, both Bad Seeds and Birthday Party. 20,000 Days turned me into a Cave fan instantly, the only song I had ever heard by him was that one he did for what-his-name from INXS, ‘Into My Arms’. But after seeing 20,000 Days… I was immediately hooked!!

        I love the last two albums too, but haven’t really explored any of his older stuff properly yet.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Oh that is awesome mate!! I agree, I grabbed a few of your suggestions and I’m liking them. I didn’t know Tribe had released a new album, I’m lovin’ it right now

      And that Melvins album is great ain’t it? My favourite is Hideous Woman. Has a hilarious video too 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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