The enduring friendship between music mavericks Nick Cave and Warren Ellis is the focus of a new documentary, “This Much I Know To Be True,” by Zealand-born Australian filmmaker Andrew Dominik.
Dominik and Cave worked together previously on “One More Time With Feeling,” a critically acclaimed 2016 documentary about Cave and the emotional consequences that followed the tragic death of his son.
This time, however, Dominik was hoping for something different.
“The music’s just so good, but, to be completely honest with you, what I was hoping was that I could make a concert film with no interview material,” he told Variety Australia. “If I could have done that and got away with it, I would’ve. But it needed more. It needed Nick to explain what he’s learned.”
“This Much I Know To Be True” had its world premiere on 12 February 2022 at the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival, and was shot on location in London and Brighton.
It captures Cave and Ellis’ creative connection as they bring to life songs from two most recent studio albums, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds’ “Ghosteen” and Cave and Ellis’ “Carnage.”
“The reason I did it was just because of the songs,” Dominik said. “I didn’t really want to do it. It wasn’t convenient to do it, but I listened to the record again, and it was just like, ‘Wow, man. How can I say no?’
“So I said, ‘Yes,’ and then, I got there, and then I’ve got to figure out what it’s going to be, in like two weeks sort of notice, and that’s pretty exhilarating. You know you’re alive when you’re in a situation like that.
“You have to make a feature film in like three weeks. Something that somebody could sit and watch for 90 minutes.”
The film reaches into the deep friendship and personal relationship between Cave and Ellis, something glimpsed in the 2014 Cave pseudo-documentary, “20,000 Days on Earth.” “This Much I Know To Be True” captures the mood and spirit of the pair as they move through a new, optimistic phase.
“Often, what can happen with soundtrack stuff is, Warren will bring something in that he’s already started, and then Nick will add to that, and then they’ll do a bit of whatever. But what’s really amazing is when you force them to sit in a room together, and just come up with it on the spot, without one sort of leading the other,” added Dominik.
“There’s a kind of magic that happens in that situation that’s palpable. It really is different.”
“This Much I Know To Be True” screens in Australian cinemas from May 11.