Hyde Park Picture House, in Leeds, was sold out for the eagerly anticipated screening of the film which accompanies the latest Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album, “Skeleton Tree. One More Time With Feeling” started out as a performance based concept around the making of the album, but due to the tragic death of Nick Cave’s son, Arthur, it evolved into a documentation of the Cave family’s grief and their attempts to carry on with their own lives. The film consists of live studio performances of the album interwoven with interviews, footage and some narration by Nick Cave himself.
The idea of the film was that he wouldn’t have to talk about the recent trauma he and his family suffered. For the majority of the film he does talk about those events but without referring to them directly. As the film draws to its conclusion Cave, and wife Susie, do begin to refer directly to it as this visibly portrays the stages of their grieving process. He poignantly describes it as time feeling elastic, you can move further away from those emotions but you will always be pulled back right into the middle of it all again. This is a motif which runs as a constant cycle during the piece, occasionally the light hearted moments allow you to forget what has gone before but relatively soon you are dragged back into feeling what must only be a tiny proportion of the anguish they felt.
It seems important to Cave that he displays, and deals with, his emotions through his art. During the interviews he displays a level of composure and a philosophical outlook however, during the performances of the tracks is where his inner most feelings are really on show. Pain, torment and longing are written all over his face in these live scenes. At certain points within “Girl In Amber” you can see the glisten in his eyes as he holds back tears.
Portions of the movie are also about the importance of Warren Ellis, both to the band and to Nick Cave personally. It shows us just how vital to The Bad Seeds sound he is, with his input to the writing and recording process, and just how much Cave relies upon, and values, his opinion. At one point he describes Ellis as his rock, and you sense that he is implying that is the case in all aspects of their friendship and working relationship. In the opening scene we see Ellis being protective of Cave saying that many people would love to know what he saw when he was with the family on that fateful day, but he won’t tell anyone as it is private. In the wake of the media’s treatment of the Cave family surrounding that terrible event I feel this clip serves to make a point about celebrity culture as well as showing the tight bond they share. The public, and the media, did want to know how Cave was coping during that time in his life but with Ellis refusing to divulge any information emphasises that despite being a celebrity Nick Cave is still a human being and his privacy should be respected especially during such times of devastation.
This film is a masterpiece, indescribably beautiful and emotive, which has appeal beyond fans of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds music, as they turn pain into true art. It incorporates every emotion with sad, funny, moving and uplifting moments. Many a bad film has opted for the tagline “you’ll laugh. you’ll cry, you’ll love…..”, and although that is a cringe worthy promotional line well beneath the genius of Nick Cave, never has a film been more suited to it. You WILL laugh, you WILL definitely cry and you WILL love “One More Time With Feeling”. As the credits roll they are accompanied by a recording of Nick, Arthur and his twin brother Earl singing “Deep Water” by Marianne Faithfull.