Made by fans for Cave be­liev­ers

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM REVIEWS - DON­ALD CLARKE

to em­pha­sise the hol­lows and grooves be­tween bones.

The fin­ished and much de­layed Ger­man Con­cen­tra­tion Camps Fac­tual Survey pre­miered at the Berlin Film Fes­ti­val ear­lier this year, fol­low­ing four years of toil by Bri­tain’s Im­pe­rial War Mu­se­ums. But Night Will Fall works per­fectly well as a stand­alone fea­ture. The film’s in­cred­i­ble archival scenes pro­vide, as the ar­chi­tects of Ger­man Con­cen­tra­tion Camps Fac­tual Survey en­vis­aged, an in­valu­able teach­ing tool. Singer’s cut pro­vides con­text, bal­ance and per­spec­tive.

It is dif­fi­cult to imag­ine that there’ll be a more im­por­tant film this year. Don’t miss it.


20,000 DAYS ON EARTH Di­rected by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pol­lard. Fea­tur­ing Nick Cave, Ray Win­stone, Kylie Minogue, War­ren El­lis, Blixa Bargeld Let us get a few pro­vi­sos out of the way. No­body who is not al­ready some sort of enthusiast for Nick Cave – singer of Old Tes­ta­ment tales and chron­i­cler of hun­gry crows – will have much time for this sin­gu­lar doc­u­men­tary from Iain Forsyth and Jane Pol­lard. It’s not just that the film is about the Aus­tralian émi­gré and noth­ing but the Aus­tralian émi­gré; it’s that no invit­ing av­enues are opened up for the cur­rently un­con­vinced.

We are al­lowed almost no mov­ing footage of ear­lier in­car­na­tions of Cave. The Birth­day Party, those in­com­pa­ra­ble Dadaist noise ter­ror­ists, are seen only in mono­chrome stills. None of the late 1990s tunes that un­ex­pect­edly widened his au­di­ence to the din­ner-party set make it to the fin­ished film.

This is a piece about Nick now. He pot­ters about nicer cor­ners of Brighton. He vis­its an an­a­lyst. He watches Scar­face with his two boys. In a se­quence that pushes into the de­i­fied area that lies beyond mere ha­giog­ra­phy, we watch him se­lect archival items for in­clu­sion in a “Nick Cave memo­rial mu­seum”. The Egyp­tian pharaohs were treated less in­dul­gently by those re­spon­si­ble for post­mortem ar­range­ments.

Yet for all the un­de­ni­able self-re­gard – we are very, very fond of our­selves – 20,000 Days on Earth re­mains an ef­fec­tive, oc­ca­sion­ally mov­ing piece of work. Forsyth and Pol­lard, long-term col­lab­o­ra­tors with Cave, have worked hard to con­coct a visual and au­ral style that meshes with their sub­ject’s sin­gu­lar sen­si­bil­ity. Erik Wilson’s lovely cin­e­matog­ra­phy finds damp beauty in the Sus­sex skies. Kylie Minogue (fair enough) and Ray Win­stone (why, ex­actly?) turn up to press Cave on the un­der­pin­nings of his art. As it pro­gresses, Cave grad­u­ally al­lows weak­nesses and vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties to show through. Mind you, we aren’t ever al­lowed to catch sight of his bald patch.

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