“This day is both more real and less real, more true and less true, more interesting and less interesting than my actual day, depending on how you look at it” – Nick Cave
Drama and reality combine in a fictitious 24 hours in the life of musician and international cultural icon Nick Cave. The film is an intimate portrait of the artistic process, celebrating the transformative power of the creative spirit.
Cave says, of first-time feature directors Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard; “I’ve always liked their unorthodox approach to things and on a personal level we have always gotten on very well. I invited them in to film some promotional footage for the new record. In the end, the footage was so compelling we decided to expand the idea.”
20,000 Days On Earth takes us deep into the heart of how myth, memory, love and loss, shape our lives, every single day. A line in Cave’s songwriting notebook calculating how many days he’d been alive inspired the film’s title. The film delves into Nick’s artistic processes, unpicking the stuff that makes him tick. Fusing drama and documentary to weave a cinematic day-in-the-life with unique verité observations of his full creative cycle.
We meet those who have affected his life, including regular musical-collaborator Warren Ellis; actor and friend Ray Winstone; former Bad Seed Blixa Bargeld; and Kylie Minogue, with whom Cave duetted on Where The Wild Roses Grow.
Cave comments, “I hadn’t really seen Blixa for some years before I sat in the car with him and we started talking. I had never asked him why he had left the Bad Seeds, for example. Kylie was similar. These scenes just found their own dramatic tension. In the Kylie scene there is something rather lovely going on as we can’t see each other’s expressions but the camera can.”
We also witness Cave open up to psychoanalyst Darian Leader as he discusses how his early years continue to inform his work. Later, we join him on a journey through his personal archives.
“During the archive section, I just sat there for a couple of days and looked at photos and talked about them and largely forgot about the cameras and you can see that in the relaxed nature of these scenes”, Cave remembers.
It is this archive that would go on to inspire the film’s digital partner project, the Museum of Important Shit.
20,000 Days on Earth premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the World Cinema Documentary awards for for directing and editing.