One More Time with Feeling marks much more than the release of Skeleton Tree, the new album from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
The devastation of Arthur Cave’s death dominates One More Time with Feeling. The film had originally been planned as a simple accompaniment to Skeleton Tree, documenting the making of the band’s new album. The tragic loss of Nick Cave’s 15 year old son in June 2015 changed all of that. Instead, the film tells the story of a father struggling to comprehend the ‘catastrophic’ event that befell his family.
Filmmaker Andrew Dominik has created an intensely personal account of loss and grief, but also strength, perseverance and kindness. The band’s performances of the album are spliced with interviews and unguarded footage, all beautifully shot in 3D monochrome. Cave’s sporadic and stunted narration reveals a vulnerability to the singer-songwriter seldom seen before. Contributions from Cave’s wife and son add to this sense of openness.
The music itself is more experimental, less polished and crafted than much of the band’s recent back catalogue. Songs, such as Jesus Alone, are driven by Warren Ellis’ improvisation, creating a brooding musical canvas for Cave’s now more disparate lyrics. The results are hypnotic and immersive.
In 20,000 Days on Earth – the band’s previous documentary – Nick Cave talked of cannibalising the intimate moments between husband and wife in the process of songwriting. Here, Cave recognises that Arthur’s death is too traumatic for such a process. There are no neat endings or resolutions, but rather a simple need to carry-on with the work; attempting to make some sense out of the senseless.