Arts Review, Movies
Do the math. Nick Cave, one of the hippest musicians of the ‘80s was 54 years old when this documentary feature was shot. He’s now 57. But that doesn’t mean that he’s lost his edgy sensibility and tough-as-nails artistic discipline—or his love of black clothes.
Directors Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard clearly had more than Cave’s cooperation in making 20,000 Days on Earth; he’s an active participant in this unique “day in the life” of an iconic rock star. Pollard and Forsyth have employed a hybrid strategy with lots of sophisticated over/and/undertones. As an audience, we’re given access to the often-reclusive Cave from waking up (and a rueful examination of his life), to a revealing formal interview, and on to lunch and reminisces with collaborator Warren Ellis. From there, Cave takes us to a rehearsal with band members and on to a meeting with archivists; finally we see a concert. There are also dramatic interludes and fantasy sequences.
Pollard and Forsyth have collaborated with Cave in the past; they’ve directed music videos and created audio for The Death of Bunny Munroe, based on Cave’s novel. And Cave is not easy to categorize. He’s a novelist (And the Ass Saw the Angel); screenplay writer (The Proposition), actor (Wings of Desire) and film composer (The Road).
20,000 Days on Earth is a stylish profile of Nick Cave. When it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, Forsyth and Pollard won for Best Directing and Jonathan Amos garnered the award for best editing in the World Documentary Feature category. This is a doc well worth seeing.
Written by Marc Glassman
Adjunct Professor, Ryerson University
Director, Pages UnBound: the festival and series
Editor, POV Magazine
Editor, Montage Magazine
Film Critic, The New Classical 96.3 FM
Film programmer, Planet in Focus
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