This Much I Know to Be True
“A whole lot of terrible shit happens when me and Warren [Ellis] get into a room. But there are these moments when it just clicks into something transcendent…But they’re just snippets in an ocean of bullshit.” This is how Nick Cave describes the creative process and bond he shares with long-time collaborator Ellis. Director Andrew Dominik’s This Much I Know to Be True (his second Cave documentary following 2016’s One More Time With Feeling) takes viewers into the heart of this messy and sometimes chaotic space as the musicians perform tracks from Cave’s most recent albums, Ghosteen, which he recorded with his band The Bad Seeds, and Carnage, which was written with Ellis. The result is something that’s close to ethereal.
Shot almost entirely in an abandoned factory in Bristol, minimalism is key here. The large, empty space contains some lights and a circular dolly track in the centre of which Cave and Ellis perform alongside a small ensemble of musicians and singers. No measures are taken to hide the track or any equipment. Tangles of cables snake across the floor, weaving between pedals and guitars, are in full view throughout most of the performances. Similarly, the camera keeps rolling before and after takes, with Dominik and other stagehands issuing commands to the crew. At other points, Cave will give Ellis some blunt feedback on what he’s playing. The Brechtian presentation of the documentary serves to underscore the rawness of Cave’s music. Everything audiences hear and see is an unfiltered expression of the musician’s art. And, in this sense, This Much I Know to Be True is cinema in its purest form.
This is likewise a very intimate and personal film. Not only does the actual proximity of the performances generate a sense of closeness to the music, but sections of the feature are dedicated to Cave simply giving his thoughts on everything from creating music to the existential terror of existence. This documentary goes beyond the performances: it attempts to reach into the artist’s soul and put it on the big screen.
Even for those not yet acquainted with Cave’s work, This Much I Know to Be True is essential viewing for those passionate about music and cinema.
This Much I Know To Be True is released in select cinemas on 11th May 2022.
Watch the trailer for This Much I Know To Be True here: