Nick Cave has had a traumatic year. He has faced the unfathomable, in the death of his 15 year-old son Arthur, and the road he’s traveled has been long and excruciatingly painful. One More Time with Feeling started life as an accompaniment to Cave’s new album Skeleton Tree, but over the course of its production evolved into something far greater and more complex, capturing the raw beauty of a genius grieving.
The film opens with a failed shot; the camera moves in and out of focus until the DP calls for a reset. Bandmate Warren Ellis stops talking, and we see, and hear, the team fiddling with the lens. The broken shot effectively conveys the way in which a personal crisis can unravel everything; it is an appropriate way to open a film which grants intimate, unflinching access to Cave at the height of both his powers and despair.
The meditative nature of the film provides Cave with a platform for introspection, and what emerges is a consuming performance of grief. He often alludes to being a stranger to himself in the aftermath of his personal catastrophe, and contemplates at length the ways in which trauma has affected his own process. Formally, the film is in line with these themes; shot in stark black and white, the tonal palette casts shadows over everything. The songs function as emotional centrepieces for the film, maelstroms of emotion that draw you in, not least in Cave’s exquisite rendition of ‘I Need You’.
One More Time with Feeling is at once uncompromising, upsetting, generous, and honest. There are times when it can be too intense to stomach, but it nevertheless draws you into a world of grief so dramatically that you cannot help but be totally invested in it. A beautiful, shattering experience.
CAST: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
DIRECTOR: Andrew Dominik
SYNOPSIS: Director Andrew Dominik explores the creative process of Nick Cave and his band as the singer attempts to come to terms with an unfathomable personal tragedy.