July 30, 2011

U2 documentary “From The Sky Down” opens 2011 Toronto International Film Festival

U2 documentary “From The Sky Down” opens 2011 Toronto International Film Festival

Earlier this week, the first batch of films for the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival were announced, including Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive, Francis Ford Coppola’s Twixt, and Lars von Trier’s Melancholia. One film that I completely glossed over in the announcement was Davis Guggenheim’s From the Sky Down, but it’s since become the film that I'm most interested by.

The film, which opens this year’s TIFF, is a documentary about U2’s Achtung Baby. From the official festival announcement:

Twenty years after the release of U2’s Achtung Baby (1991), Davis Guggenheim (Waiting for Superman, An Inconvenient Truth, It Might Get Loud) charts this groundbreaking album with new interviews, stories and unseen footage from Berlin and Dublin. Now a key chapter in their career, Achtung Baby was in Bono’s words “the sound of four men chopping down The Joshua Tree.”

“In the terrain of rock bands – implosion or explosion is seemingly inevitable. U2 has defied the gravitational pull towards destruction, this band has endured and thrived. The movie From The Sky Down asks the question why,” said Davis Guggenheim.

Speaking as someone who watched Rattle and Hum roughly a bajillion times as a high schooler, I can’t wait to see this — my inner high school U2 fan is positively giddy. Achtung Baby remains one of my favorite U2 albums, and I'd even go so far as to call it one of the best rock albums of the last two or three decades. It’s a fascinating album, both sonically and thematically within the larger context of U2’s catalog, and it has the makings for an interesting and enjoyable documentary.

Speaking of Achtung Baby, the album will likely be getting the deluxe reissue treatment this fall along with Zooropa. No official release date has been announced, but the reissues sound pretty extensive, with several different versions all chronicling the band at the height of their “Zoo TV”-era powers.

On a related note, Achtung Baby is twenty years old?! How did that happen?