From the Sky Down is a 2011 American documentary film directed by Davis Guggenheim about rock band U2 and the production of their 1991 album Achtung Baby. The film documents the albums difficult recording period, the band members relationships, and the groups creative process. Guggenheim, who was commissioned by U2 to create the film to commemorate the records 20th anniversary, spent several months in 2011 developing the documentary. The band were filmed during a return visit to Hansa Studios in Berlin where parts of the album were recorded, and during rehearsals in Winnipeg for the Glastonbury Festival 2011. The film contains unreleased scenes from the groups 1988 motion picture Rattle and Hum, along with archival footage and stills from the Achtung Baby recording sessions. Development of the albums emblematic song One is recounted through the replaying of old recording tapes.
After the commercial and critical success of their 1987 album The Joshua Tree, U2 produced a motion picture and companion album titled Rattle and Hum that was subject to a critical backlash. The bands exploration of American music for the project was variously labelled as pretentious and misguided and bombastic. The groups high exposure and their reputation for being overly serious led to accusations of grandiosity and selfrighteousness. In addition to the criticism they faced, U2 dealt with internal creative dissatisfaction lead vocalist Bono believed they were musically unprepared for their success, and drummer Larry Mullen, Jr. said, We were the biggest, but we werent the best. Towards the end of the Lovetown Tour in 1989, Bono announced onstage that it was the end of something for U2, and that we have to go away and... dream it all up again.Wishing to reinvent themselves and seeking inspiration from German reunification, the group decamped to Hansa Studios in Berlin in October 1990 with producers Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno to record Achtung Baby. The sessions were fraught with conflict, as the band argued over their musical direction and the quality of their material. Weeks of tension and slow progress nearly took their toll the group considered breaking up, but they made a breakthrough with the improvised writing of the song One. With improved morale, the group completed the album in Dublin in 1991. In November, Achtung Baby was released to critical acclaim. Musically, it incorporated influences from the alternative rock, electronic dance music, and industrial music of the time. Thematically, it was a more introspective and personal record it was darker, yet at times more flippant than the bands previous work. The album and the subsequent multimediaintensive Zoo TV Tour were central to the groups 1990s reinvention, whereby they abandoned their earnest public image for a more lighthearted and selfdeprecating one. Achtung Bab