Culture / Film

A new documentary chronicles the thunderous birth and collapse of The Birthday Party

mutiny in heaven film

On the cusp of fame, The Boys Next Door rebranded as The Birthday Party and in 1980, departed Australia for England. With full intentions to hit the ground running, the band, fronted by Nick Cave, immediately despised their new home – a feeling they would swiftly learn was completely mutual.

Mutiny in Heaven, a new documentary film helmed by director Ian White, charts the swirling chaos that enveloped the band from the moment they set foot in London until their eventual collapse in 1983. Taking its name from the final song on the band's 1983 album and told with archival footage that captures each of the band member's own recollections from that short yet prolific period, White assembles a portrait characterised by drug addiction, poverty, and malnutrition. Yet, the director also captures the earnestness of the music, which, although it was later misinterpreted by its notoriously violent audience, upended the post-punk status quo.

Eventually, the band – comprising Rowland S. Howard, Mick Harvey, Tracy Pew and Phill Calvert – would combust from the mayhem that trailed them. Most saliently, the generous, thoughtful Nick Cave we now refer to is a far cry from the loincloth-wearing misanthrope recorded in Mutiny in Heaven. Fans of Cave are sure to appreciate the film.

Who is involved?

Although Cave has signed off on the film, he is not directly involved in its production. However, Harvey stepped onboard as music supervisor and curated the soundtrack, while Wim Wenders joined as executive producer.

Is there a release date?

The film made its Australian debut back in August at Melbourne International Film Festival, and will slowly drop across Australian theatres from October 26, with director Q&As planned for each capital city's premiere screening. Find more information about where to watch Mutiny in Heaven at the documentary's website.

Is there a trailer?

See the teaser trailer for the film Mutiny in Heaven, below.

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