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DVD/Blu-ray: One More Time with Feeling | reviews, news & interviews

DVD/Blu-ray: One More Time with Feeling

DVD/Blu-ray: One More Time with Feeling

Grief and art mix in a subtly intimate Nick Cave documentary

'An honourable, valuable response to loss in its immediate aftermath'

“But when did you become an object of pity?” Nick Cave asks himself. Brighton’s streets have become an obstacle course of concerned strangers and acquaintances, in the arms of whom he may find himself collapsed, crying. Such indignity was his grief’s smallest cost, after his 15-year-old son Arthur fatally fell from a cliff in 2015.

One More Time with Feeling was released in cinemas last year, in a complex 3D process. Watched at Cave’s favourite cinema in his adopted hometown Brighton on its muggy opening night, it felt oppressively intense and increasingly raw, with the 3D adding hallucinatory depth.

On a 2D disc (there is a 3D Blu-ray), it’s a cooler experience, but still intimately exposed in a way Cave's never been before. Director Andrew Dominik – who Cave worked with as musician and actor on The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford (2007) – combines beautiful performance footage of songs from the haunted recent album Skeleton Tree with studio scenes of its making; with Nick, wife Susie and son Earl Cave (pictured below with Dominik) awkwardly at home, and interviews. Time collapses and overlaps as if its structure has been damaged, as the film dissects art’s place, faced with an event which dwarfs it. “There’s no imaginative room around it,” Cave insists. “There’s just the fucking trauma.”

Dominik carefully approaches the absence which Arthur Cave’s death has left. It’s there in Nick Cave’s halting, blocked sentences, his attempts to articulate his inarticulacy, his damaged self-belief, and his abandoned control. It’s there in the supportive sunniness he finds for Arthur’s twin Earl, as right-hand Bad Seed Warren Ellis does for him.

We’re nearing the last 30 minutes when Susie shows a painting by five-year-old Arthur of the windmill at the Rottingdean cliff where he later fell. Her emotion is shakily unguarded, Nick’s disarmed by her side. At the end, we hear the twins playing the Marianne Faithfull song “Deep Water” together.

One More Time with Feeling is an honourable, valuable response to loss in its immediate aftermath. The performances, like Skeleton Tree, show art can survive even this.

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