mercoledì 21 settembre 2016

One more time with feeling

If, for most people, July 14 is Bastille Day, for Australian singer and composer Nick Cave July 14 simply is, by far, the worst day of his life.
On that date in 2015, his son Arthur, 15 years old, after having tried for the first time LSD with a friend, completely unaware of what he was doing, fell off from the top of Ovingdean Gap's cliff, near Brighton, where the Caves live.
Nick Cave, his wife Susie and Arthur's twin brother Earl, had all to face this immense and utterly cruel tragedy.
In December of the same year, Cave asked his friend Andrew Dominik, the New-Zealander film-maker who signed movies like Killing them softly and The assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford, to film the studio recording of his new album, Skeleton Tree. The idea was to avoid to make the promotion of it, since Cave felt unable to talk about it with journalists.
Filmed in black-and-white and colour, in both 3D and 2D, One more time with feeling contains more than the album, though. It is a real documentary: between the songs, Cave talks about what is happening in his life since what he called "the trauma".
Largely improvised, these parts shape bit by bit a new image of Nick Cave. A shattered human being who struggles to find a way to keep going, incredibly frail and love needing.
It is almost unbearable to witness Cave's pain, as well as the one of his wife Susie.
Always extremely dignified, but at the same time not afraid to show how difficult could be to outlive a person they both immensely loved.
There is a scene particularly heartbreaking. In front of the camera, Susie, standing, shows a painting made by Arthur and tells the story behind it, while Nick seats at her side. At a certain point, she looks at him and whispers: "I don't know if I can tell this without crying" and Cave looks at her in such tender way, saying nothing, just shaking his head, in a gesture full of love and despair.
A strange and very particular object, this is a film that Cave’s fans will not forget very easily.
I personally started to adore Nick Cave twenty years ago, at the time of his album The Boatman’s Call, that I consider a pure gem. Since then, I bought every record, went to every concert I could. The one he made at the Olympia in Paris in June 2008 is, until today, the best concert I’ve ever been.
That his son had to die trying LSD, seems to me particularly cruel. As if drug, unable to take Nick’s life (a notorious addict for many years), finally won over him through Arthur. 

As Cave said several times in the movie, there is the person he used to be before and there is the new person he is now, after the tragedy. The body is the same, but the soul is completely different. He knows he will never get over it, but he is trying his best to survive.
And I guess Cave found a way to survive (besides, clearly, through the love of his family and friends), through his work, his music.
The songs of Skeleton Tree are desperate, magnificent and necessary.
It will be a pity to miss them (even if, as you could easily guess, they’re not exactly cheerful).

When the movie was over and the audience, already in tears, was about to leave the cinema, a song on the end credits gave us the final blow. It was Deep Water, a Marianne Faithfull song, lyrics by Marianne Faithfull, music by Nick, Arthur and Earl Cave, in a version recorded a while ago and sung by the two twins:
I’m walking through deep water
I have no time to lose
I’m walking through deep water
There’s nothing left to choose
This little heart of mine
Got loaded up with chains
The world just swirls around me
The water makes its claim
I’m walking through deep water
Trying to get to you
Who will calm my fears?
Who will drive my tears away?
Who will calm my fears?
Who will drive my tears away?

You don't have to look any further to find the most heartbreaking movie of the year.

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