director Andrew Dominik
A study in contrasts: 2014’s 20,000 Days on Earth and 2016’s One More Time with Feeling. Both films are documentaries about Nick Cave recording an album. In 20,000 Days on Earth it is his 2013 album “Push the Sky Away”; in One More Time with Feeling it’s the 2016 album “Skeleton Tree”. The first is in color, the latter in black-and-white and 3-D.
The real difference is what happened between these two pictures, the death of Cave’s son Arthur in a fall from a cliff at the age of 15.
Cave is a different man, one who was always absorbed of darkness, but now leavened in loss and trauma. We see Cave’s wife, the beautiful Susie Bick and Arthur’s handsome twin, Earl appears briefly. Cave himself has deeply shaken by what has happened to Arthur, and while director Andrew Dominik engages Cave in conversation, the tragedy itself isn’t something that he wants to directly articulate.
Nick Cave and collaborator Warren Ellis scored Dominik’s remarkable 2007 Western, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. It’s hard to know if this created an affinity between them, allowing access to the grieving process, the therapeutic return to work and art, but it’s conceivable.
These two films exist wrapped around Arthur’s death, the first by happenstance, this one by choice.