Cards on the table: i LOVE Depeche Mode, it’s one of my favorite bands of all time, and i’d argue one of the most influential overall, and i could go on, but it’s a review and i’m no proctologist.
Many bands had their work translated into a feature length movie, often in a more typical narrative fashion, with a plot crafted around the history of the band and it’s members, but also in more odd, ambitious fashions, like the hybrid of animated movie and music video of Interstella 5555, or Metallica: Through The Never, which went for live-action story mixed with live recordings.
Spirits In The Forest goes for a mix of live recordings from the 2017/2018 Global Spirit Tour, specifically the performance at Berlin’s Waldbühne (“Forest Stage”), and private cinema, with the intimate stories of six special Depeche Mode fans, filmed in their respective hometowns, talking about how the band’s music impacted their lives and connected with them, regardless of age, religion, language barriers, etc.
At it’s heart, Anton Corbjin’s (better know for Control, the biopic on Joy Division’s Ian Curtis) docu-film has the typical message about the power of music to unite people regardless of the many barriers and differences life inevitably confronts us with, but it does so in a smart way, not focusing on explaining pointless stuff like “what is Depeche Mode?”, or why the band is still so beloved today, but on the experiences of regular folks that are fans of the band AND do have interesting stories to tell, personal stories from different realities.
They are presented in a sincere fashion, never becoming indirect propaganda, with a good balance between these recollections and the live segments from the aforementioned Forest Stage performance in Berlin, and a concise runtime.
A bit envious i wasn’t there, gotta admit.