Armin van Burren was at his lowest pre-pandemic. Ironically, COVID allowed the Dutch DJ and producer the clarity to seek help. He found a therapist, started meditating, and began to accept himself. Armin hopes to share his experience with the world in his concert documentary, This is Me: Feel Again. Filmed in a massive arena in Amsterdam, the DJ is no longer “looking for external solutions for internal problems.” Instead, he hopes to show the world his love of dance, music, and high-energy electronica, one drop at a time.
Primarily a concert film, the doc includes tracks from van Burren’s illustrious career as a DJ and producer. Directors James Barnes, Nicolas Caeyers, and Sander Reneman do a fantastic job translating the excitement of each music composition to the screen and allowing the elaborate stage setpieces to shine. Footage of van Burren discussing his struggles and his focus on mental health and newfound philosophies are woven between the dance tracks.
“…found a therapist, started mediating, and began to accept himself.”
The filmmakers make great efforts to keep the intensity and authenticity of van Burren’s performance throughout the footage. They separate This is Me: Feel Again from the typical concert film by crafting an emotional journey and core throughout. Rather than watching someone else’s concert experience on screen, the directors and the music man make viewers feel onstage, in the pit, and at one with the pounding bass beats. It’s a concert film with an emotional arc, providing context to each track, which allows the film to speak to the nature of van Burren’s story as well as those dancing along in the crowd.
Translating an EDM concert to the screen is challenging, yet the documentary effectively conveys the appeal. The concert captures each setpiece or laser effect in beautiful wide shots and pulls in with mastery when van Burren speaks directly to the viewer. Some interviews make transitions between tracks rough, but the context adds more flair to the next set of pulsing electronic beats. Cutting down a two-hour-plus concert also brings more than its share of challenges. But the behind-the-camera team always finds a creative way to keep the energy present.
Those already in the rave community or fans of Armin van Burren will find the deeper look into his process and life enlightening. People wanting a quick introduction to EDM could use the documentary to sample the concert experience. However, This is Me: Feel Again has a very niche audience. I’m unsure how an EDM concert translates to viewers watching from their couch. There may be living room ravers I’m unaware of. But who says it’s a bad thing to have such a niche audience? No matter who sees it, the film is engaging, energetic, and reflective from start to finish. The concert visuals are gorgeous and captured with precision. The music is infectious. The message is clear and concise, and the scene between Armin van Burren and his wife in the arena strikes at the core idea of learning to “feel again” better than anything outside of the music itself.
"…make(s) viewers feel onstage, in the pit, and at one with the pounding bass beats."