20,000 Days on Earth

20,000 Days on Earth ★★★★★

A portrait of the artist as a God.

And I thought I loved Nick Cave before watching this film. Directors Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard pull off something quite remarkable with this fictional documentary that would make Errol Morris blush, that follows Nick Cave around the time of the recording of his latest album, Push The Sky Away. While an absolute boon to fans of the artist, Murder Ballads was a seminal album in my development as a teenager (one of the few I could say shaped me) 20,000 Days On Earth has bigger targets in its sight, including an exploration of the very nature of artistic expression, and can be appreciated by anyone unfamiliar with his work. Many scenes are staged of course, including scenes of Cave with his psychotherapist, and scenes of him chauffeuring around icons from his past such as Kylie Minogue and, most shockingly, Blixa Bargeld, a former Bad Seed who hails from the German industrial band Einsturzende Neubauten. But that only adds to the philosophical rubric on display, as Cave inextricably weaves his memories, his thoughts, his desires, and his uncanny ability to express himself into some kind of juggernaut that for me turned the act of creation into a life or death prospect. There's a bit towards the end when Cave describes seeing his future wife for the first time that ranks up there with similar descriptions in the world's greatest literature. Anyone with even a cursory interest in the artistic process would be wise to watch this incredible film.

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