20,000 Days on Earth is a semi-fictional “day in the life” documentary about Nick Cave directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard. The film combines mostly unscripted scenarios depicting Cave’s creative process, Cave interacting with songwriting partner Warren Ellis, Kylie Minogue and actor Ray Winstone, watching Scarface with his twin teenage sons and some in concert performance footage from a show at the Sydney Opera House. Cave’s voice-overs were scripted and each shot was planned out like it would be in a Hollywood film.
The film is currently on a sort of road show put together by Alamo Drafthouse Films that seems to bump into the current Bad Seeds American tour at several select junctures. Remaining screening dates here. The UK premiere of 20,000 Days on Earth at London’s Barbican will take place on September 17th and be broadcast live to 150 participating movie theaters.
You know when you get fanatically obsessed by a certain song and you can play it over and over and over again, nonstop, on repeat? Well, in my case, you can add a couple of dozens “overs” to get a sense of how often I’ve recently played “Where the Wild Roses Grow,” the duet between Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue from his 1996 Murder Ballads album.
To say I’ve been playing the shit out of this song (and Murder Ballads, one of the best albums in Cave’s nearly unbroken string of musical masterpieces) for the past few days would be an understatement (just ask my wife!) but chances are that if you’ve read this far, it’s about to be stuck in your head, too.
Not to rhapsodize too much about something you can simply hit play and experience for yourself, although it’s Cave’s song and well, totally his thing, it’s Kylie who shines here. Dig how perfect her performance is. She hits it so hard and so flawlessly that you can only imagine the junkie prince of darkness jumping for joy in the recording studio when they laid this performance to tape.
He’s great, he’s Nick fucking Cave, of course, but it’s Kylie the astonishing who steals the show here. Her vocal performance as Cave’s victim sounds so pure and innocent that it gives me goosebumps. According to Cave, they did no more than three takes.Why mess with perfection?
First the stunning music video directed by Rocky Schenck. The imagery is based on the mid-19th century painting, “Ophelia” by Sir John Everett Millais, completed between 1851 and 1852. The painting depicts Hamlet‘s Ophelia singing in a river as she dies, and currently resides in the Tate Britain:
For her 2012 orchestral album, The Abbey Road Sessions, Minogue and Cave teamed up again to record this version of the song: