Spirits In The Forest preview report

Earlier this week, and ahead of its release on 21 November, the Curzon Mayfair in London hosted a preview of the film followed by a Q&A with its director Anton Corbijn. Thanks to my Halo co-author Kevin May I was able to attend and I have to say that I really enjoyed the film. It’s not a Depeche Mode concert film by any stretch of the imagination, in fact it’s barely a Depeche Mode film at all. This is something very different for Depeche Mode.

As well as being there with the ultimate aim of writing this review, I was also there on duty for HOME because I was interviewing two of the fans who star in the film, Daniel Cassus and Cristian Flueraru. I had a very interesting chat with both of them which remains under wraps until it features on HOME.

To the film then: If you are expecting to go along and see 90 minutes of live footage, you’re going to be disappointed. The two Waldbühne gigs in Berlin are the film’s focal point certainly, but only in the sense that the fans’ stories are told in the lead up to the gigs, with all six finally meeting up in Berlin. The gigs are more a backdrop than anything else. What we get instead is a very enjoyable and, in parts, moving film that highlights just how much of a role Depeche Mode play in people’s lives. We all have our own similar stories about when we first fell in love with the band and how their music resonates throughout events in our lives, but if we tried to tell that tale ourselves, we’d quickly bore everyone around us – I can speak from personal experience there.

The film thankfully avoids that trap. The fans’ stories are intriguingly told, interweaving as they approach Berlin where we see them all together enjoying the last two shows of the Global Spirit Tour. I enjoyed each story and the approach of letting the fans tell the tale rather than relying on the band’s live performance is a bold move but one that works. The film is almost more of a documentary in places. I won’t reveal any of the stories as you’ll want to see them yourself. This isn’t 101 part 2 either. It’s much more personal. Contemplative rather than a month long bus party.

There is of course no Depeche Mode film without Depeche Mode and footage from both Waldbühne gigs pops up throughout the film. As I mentioned above, this isn’t a concert film and I was initially surprised at how little Depeche we saw. As the film progresses however, you notice that less and less. What footage there is serves as a reminder of how good those gigs were.

After the film, Edith Bowman hosted a Q&A with Anton, in which he confirmed what he had already said in social media: Yes, a full concert version will be coming at some point in the future, with no release date has been made public yet. That concert version as well a new book of Depeche photographs is expected to hit the shelves next year.

For the full version of David’s report from Curzon Mayfair, hit up his blog.