Formed in Melbourne, Australia in the late 1970s The Birthday Party were one of the most influential acts of their time. From humble beginnings in suburban Melbourne they grew to command a level of respect around the world which remains undiminished to this day. Fueled by the incendiary relationship between vocalist Nick Cave and guitarist Rowland S. Howard, The Birthday Party were frequently described as the most dangerous band in the world. Directed by Ian White, The Birthday Party Documentary MUTINY IN HEAVEN is the story of The Birthday Party’s ascent, apex and inevitable collapse – a thrilling tale of epic struggle, artistic genius and total dysfunctionality. Told in the group’s own words, MUTINY IN HEAVEN brings the band’s story to the screen for the first time.
This is a twisted tale of ascent, realization and implosion whilst dealing with issues of artistic muse, creativity, addiction, fame, interpersonal conflict and the unique relationship between creative vision and self-destruction – all underpinned by the dark, wry humor of the individual band members.
Utilizing exclusive, incredibly candid interviews, a wealth of rare and unseen archives, original artwork, unreleased tracks, studio footage, animation and multimedia content – the film is as visually rich as it is narratively riveting – a revealing look back at its key members’ origins, dreams, hopes and motivations.
Drug sick, flat-broke and suffering from malnutrition, The Birthday Party took their hatred of London and channeled it into a new body of work which demolished everything that had come before them. Their stage shows became closer to auto-destructive art performances than concerts – the band deliberately antagonizing and provoking their audience while assaulting them with an apocalyptic maelstrom of sound which belied their deep immersion in the worlds of art, literature and cinema.
Off stage, their lives were little different. The story of The Birthday Party unfolds like a demented, absurdist novel – an utterly compelling, often hilarious tale of epic proportions, spanning three continents and five years.