Sometimes you wish you had a secret recorder
I’ve never ever recorded a movie in a theatre. Of course I haven’t. It wouldn’t only be illegal, but also against my personal moral principles. However I can’t help wishing I had recorded 20, 000 Days on Earth. I wouldn’t have used the camera (even though there certainly are some visual highpoints in it). But I would have liked to record the sound so I could get back to everything that Nick Cave says in this movie about him, about art, about creativity and about life itself. (I guess I could have written some of it down in a notebook while watching it, but I don’t take notes while watching films. I want to enjoy them to their fullest, immersing myself into them completely, which is undoable if you’re writing at the same time).
There are so many clever, inspiring, truthful, beautiful lines that I wish I could share with all of you. It’s the kind of quotes that you can cut out from a magazine and put on your refrigerator by help of magnets. I don’t remember the exact wording; I just remember how well they were written. It’s a bummer I can’t sprinkle this post with at least a few of them. It would have helped me to make you understand what a beautiful, interesting and heart breaking film it is. (And in case you wonder, I have checked IMDb for quotes, but there’s none there yet)
So how shall I describe this film? It’s not a pure documentary, but not a feature film in its normal sense either. It’s hanging there somewhere in between. But the theme of the movie is the artist Nick Cave, the version that Nick Cave has chosen to use for this movie, since he’s participated in the writing. Yes, I said writing. While there are a lot of “interviews”, they’re all kind of staged. It’s not as if there’s been an invisible person hiding in the shadows with a secret camera that makes everything feel “authentic”. It’s far more arranged. And yet – I think in a way it feels more honest and naked than many documentaries with shaky hand cameras are. Perhaps we don’t get close to the private person Nick Cave. But we get close to the very heart of his creativity. We can its beats; we can breathe the oxygen that fuels it.
I don’t know how familiar you are with Nick Cave. Probably you’ve heard more of his music than you think. IMDb credits him for 69 soundtracks in music and television. Sometimes he’s just the writer, in other cases he’s the singer as well, such as in Lawless from a few years ago, which became a way better movie than it otherwise would have been thanks to his soundtrack. If you’ve seen Wings of Desire you might also remember him. The band that performed in the movie was Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds.
To be honest, Nick Cave’s music probably isn’t for everyone. But even if it’s not for you, don’t let it deter you from seeing it. It’s one of the better films I’ve seen about music or, more correctly, about creativity. Anyone who creates things, be it music, writing, painting or something physical such as a dance, can probably relate to this film and feel inspired by watching it.
20, 000 Days on Earth (Ian Forsyth & Jane Pollard, UK 2014) My rating: 4,5/5