A study, mostly chronological, of the life of Nick Drake (1948-1974). Gabrielle, his older sister, tells us of her brother's birth in Burma, childhood in Warwickshire, life at Cambridge and... See full summary »
A study, mostly chronological, of the life of Nick Drake (1948-1974). Gabrielle, his older sister, tells us of her brother's birth in Burma, childhood in Warwickshire, life at Cambridge and in London, then back to his parents' home in Tanworth. His parents describe his habits and personality. Two friends and the producer, arranger, sound engineer, and photographer for his three albums comment. His mother, a musician and poet, is an early influence. His quiet folk style made his one tour a disaster. His lack of success and gradual withdrawal end with his death at 26. Eleven of his recordings play on the soundtrack, usually as we see his room, a city, or the Warwickshire countryside. Written by
Sight and sound integrally woven the precious times of Nick Drake's life on earth of 26 years
"A Skin Too Few: The Days of Nick Drake" (2000) The documentary may be 48 minutes, but it's a full, rich tapestry intricately weaving together the story of Nick Drake. Visually painterly and fulfilling in sound delivery with Nick's singing and music flowing into the natural nature sounds of birds and leaves rustling, pausing quiet moments looking out of the window from Nick's Room, appreciating the sunlight coming through the round window, lingering over the yonder meadows, the oak tree and shadows, the train tracks and the train eventually moving. All poetically put together by Dutch filmmaker Jeroen Berkvens who directed the film, with photography by Vladas Naudzius, sound by Eddy De Cloe, and editing by Stefan Kamp. Truly a beautiful tribute to British musician, singer-songwriter Nicholas Rodney 'Nick' Drake, his precious short time on earth of 26 years.
The storytelling is authentically enhanced by the family movie footage of Nick's childhood in Burma 1948 to 1952, his school years in England 1952 to 1967, his Cambridge years 1967 to 1969, with sharing of audio taped singing of Molly Drake, Nick's Mom, during the animated interviews of Gabrielle Drake, Nick's sister, who warmly recounted her memories and special moments-anecdotes of her younger brother, including excerpt reading of Nick's letters. Recalling Nick's London City years 1969 to 1971: interview segments with Joe Boyd, record producer of Nick's first two albums, "Five Leaves Left" 1969 and "Bryter Layter" 1970; Robert Kirby who did Nick's album arrangements, and John Wood the sound engineer for Nick's album recordings; Paul Weller, a fellow musician; Brian Wells, the college friend who remembered their Cambridge days and pot smoking tales with Nick; and Keith Morris, a photographer friend. We also get to hear voices of Nick's Dad and Mom speaking about their son, commenting on life with Nick at school and at home, and coping with his depression periods: Nick's Home Again years 1971 to 1974.
The four lines of verse at the start of the film are the first four lines of lyrics in "Hazey Jane 1" from "Bryter Layter" album: "Do you curse where you come from, Do you swear in the night, Will it mean much to you, If I treat you right." Followed by ten of Nick's songs-lyric sections aptly featured, flowing into the strands of various phases of Nick's life along with the image and scenes on screen: Way to Blue; Introduction; Hazey Jane 1; River Man; At the Chime of a City Clock; Day Is Done; Know; Hanging On a Star; From the Morning; Northern Sky, plus the rare audio recording of a song written and sung by his Mom, Molly Drake: How Wild the Wind Blows.
This is a well-made, worthwhile documentary - whether you've heard of Nick Drake and his songs, guitar music or not, appreciation will develop and grow. There are many resource info online, from 'wikipedia' Nick Drake page - External Links section: "The Nick Drake Files" is a very good site ("algonet.se/~iguana/DRAKE/DRAKE.html") to learn more about Nick Drake from A to Z, lyrics and interviews. The official site at "nickdrakefilm.com" provides more on this film and DVD* availability
there are Nick's room layout, family photos, production-crew details
and soundtrack list, and the Wall imagery. (* Noticed "Fruit Tree" box set now includes 4 discs, fourth being the DVD of this film, besides Nick Drake's first three albums re-released.) I was fortunate to catch this film on SF cable Sundance Channel February 27th, repeated on 28th, 2009.
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