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David Byrne's American Utopia  2020
American Utopia
Director:  Spike Lee, choreography and musical staging by Annie-B Parson
Producer:
  David Byrne and Spike Lee
Editor:
  Adam Gough
Music:
  David Byrne
Screenplay:
  David Byrne
Director of Photography:
  Ellen Kuras
slideshow
Cast:
spacer1 David Byrne
spacer1 Jaqueline Acevedo
spacer1 Gustavo di Dalva
spacer1 Daniel Freedman
spacer1 Chris Giarmo
spacer1 Tim Keiper
spacer1 Tendayi Kuumba
spacer1 Karl Mansfield
spacer1 Mauro Refosco
spacer1 Stéphane San Juan
spacer1 Angie Swan
spacer1 Bobby Wooten III
spacer1 David Byrne spacer1 Jaqueline Acevedo spacer1 Gustavo di Dalva
spacer1 Daniel Freedman spacer1 Chris Giarmo spacer1 Tim Keiper
spacer1 Tendayi Kuumba spacer1 Karl Mansfield spacer1 Mauro Refosco
spacer1 Stéphane San Juan spacer1 Angie Swan spacer1 Bobby Wooten III
spacer1 David Byrne spacer1 Jaqueline Acevedo
spacer1 Gustavo di Dalva spacer1 Daniel Freedman
spacer1 Chris Giarmo spacer1 Tim Keiper
spacer1 Tendayi Kuumba spacer1 Karl Mansfield
spacer1 Mauro Refosco spacer1 Stéphane San Juan
spacer1 Angie Swan spacer1 Bobby Wooten III

Synopsis:
Deeply thoughtful and wildly exuberant, David Byrne’s theatrical concert American Utopia lit up Broadway last year with Byrne’s trademark mix of rhythm and ideas. Working with a vibrant new band and dancers, the former Talking Heads frontman turned his music into an antidote to America’s current divisions. Spike Lee’s latest joint brings all this joyous stagecraft to the screen in a vital call to connect with one another, to protest injustice, and, above all, to celebrate life.

The cerebral first song, “Here,” from Byrne’s 2018 American Utopia album, opens in a mood of cool reflection, but that soon builds as Byrne is joined on stage by vocalist-dancer Tendayi Kuumba and dancer-vocalist Chris Giarmo, with their uncanny mix of artful gesture and dance-floor funk. Then, on come nine more musicians, including percussion masters from the US, Brazil, France – even Toronto’s Jacquelene Acevedo. “Most of us are immigrants,” Byrne says at one point, “and we couldn’t do it without them.” They launch into “Everybody’s Coming to My House.”

The classics are all here, too, but transformed – the aching beauty of “This Must Be The Place”; “Once in a Lifetime” now a euphoric anthem. In a film of countless highlights, Byrne’s cover of Janelle Monáe’s “Hell You Talmbout” is a showstopper, with the band chanting out the names of Black Americans killed by police. Lee’s powerful visuals bring it right up to the present.

Calling on all of us to think, connect, engage, and dance, David Byrne’s American Utopia unites the brain and the backside, which may be exactly what we need right now.

disc test

DVD
DVD retail information
sleeve DVD
BBFC: 12
Studio: Dogwoof
Audio:
Aspect ratio:
Barcode: 5050968003426
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
Available: 11 Jan 2021
disc price calulation Price: £12.99
Blu-ray
Blu-ray retail information
sleeve Blu-ray 
BBFC: 12
Studio: Dogwoof
Audio:
Aspect ratio:
Barcode: 5050968003433
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
Available: 11 Jan 2021
disc price calulation Price: £15.99