The hybrid fact/fiction documentary 20,000 Days on Earth follows an “imaginary” day in the life of Nick Cave, showcasing the music icon’s brilliant and idiosyncratic mind. Co-directed by visual artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, the film features a variety of intimate interviews with Cave, exploring his past hardships, the power of creativity and the mysteries of life. One of these conversations is available in this exclusive clip, which finds the musician reflecting on his rocky history with the concept of God.
In the excerpt, a therapist (Darian Leader) asks Cave if his songs share a recurring theme of “responsibility and accountability.” This triggers a spree of powerful and insightful comments from Cave, focused on the dichotomy between his real-life atheism and the spiritual undertones in his songs.
“I have a kind of weird relationship with the idea of God,” Cave says. “Because within my songwriting world, some kind of being like that exists. . . Someone taking score, let’s say. . . In the real world, I don’t believe in such a thing.”
Cave says the only time he was ever truly interested in religion was during a period of brutal drug addiction.
“I was a junkie,” he says. “I would wake up and need to score, and the first thing I would do is go to church.” Cave says he would “sit through the entire service, listening to the priest rant on up there, shake his hand on the way out” and then immediately hit up local dealers to score drugs.
“I really felt on some level that I had a kind of workable balance in my life,” he says. “I mean, it was mad.”
20,000 Days on Earth will hit select theaters starting September 17th.