Music docs often punk those who take cultural consumption too seriously, turning fans into freaks for loving so hard. The Posters Came From the Walls, a portrait of Depeche Mode fans co-directed by Nick Abrahams and Turner Prize winner Jeremy Deller, eschews mockery to recast fandom as a global-historical phenomenon. If the sexy, moody synth-rock of Dave Gahan and Co. didn't literally end the Cold War, Posters convinces that it at least created an unbreakable link between rioting Eastern Bloc teenagers and their Beverly Center counterparts.
Through vignettes narrated by the fans themselves, utilizing so much personal home video that it almost feels as though it's been directed from within, by its subjects, Posters bounces around the globe measuring Depeche's impact. In Pasadena, an outcast teen calls Gahan "God" as if Depeche literally saved him; in Cambridge, England, the band's hits soundtrack a goth church service. A semi-embarrassed grown woman walks us down La Cienega and through the site of "the Depeche Mode riot of 1990," while a notably unembarrassed German couple recall the fall of the Wall by remaking Depeche videos starring their prepubescent son. Fuzzy home vids from the USSR demonstrate how lyrics to hits like "World In My Eyes" became anthems of personal evolution, within cultural revolution, within political apocalypse. To these people, as a teen gushes on a Russian pirate TV broadcast circa 1992, Depeche represented "technology, the sounds of life, of reality!"
Abrahams and Deller stress the indifference of Depeche's hometown, Basildon, England. In classic globalist fashion, the band and what it represents increase in value the farther it's exported from the place in which it was made.
Get the Film Club Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.