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...
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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
Jeroen Berkven's 2000 documentary assumes right from the start an elitist approach, one that implies that the audience is truly knowledgeable about the world of Nick Drake and the importance of his music to a new generation of artists; as a result, the film tends to be sparse and elliptic: it's undoubtedly a labour of love, filled with autumnal, bucolic sequences that lead nowhere, except to serve Drake's melodies and his soft, broken voice that gained him admiration since his premature death in 1974. Gabrielle Drake (Nick's sister as an interviewee) is the only one that keep things going (reading old letters, painfully remembering her brother's departure), while the other guests simply resume all that has been said and wrote about Nick. This is a documentary for fans only, and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone else. At the end, while his grave is solemnly shot and the only existing footage of Nick as a child is served to feed our (morbid) curiosity, there's a sense of vagueness, still intact after the very first few minutes of screening. It lacks profoundity, as if the director was expecting that Nick's tortured persona was enough to fill in the silence and empty sadness that is carefully built along the documentary, a silence and a sadness that he might thought of as respect or deference to a soul that almost no one cherished as a musician.
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