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Film Data
Stop Making Sense  1984
Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense
Director:  Jonathan Demme
Producer:
  Gary Goetzman
Art Director:
  Sandy McLeod (consultant), David Byrne (concept)
Editor:
  Lisa Day, with Catherine Peacock and Jim Prior
Music:
  David Byrne, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz and Jerry Harrison
Screenplay:
  Jonathan Demme and Talking Heads
Director of Photography:
  Jordan Cronenweth
image 1
Cast:
spacer1 David Byrne
spacer1 Tina Weymouth
spacer1 Chris Frantz
spacer1 Jerry Harrison
spacer1 Bernie Worrell
spacer1 Alex Weir
spacer1 Steve Scales
spacer1 Lynn Mary
spacer1 Edna Holt
spacer1
spacer1
spacer1
spacer1 David Byrne spacer1 Tina Weymouth spacer1 Chris Frantz
spacer1 Jerry Harrison spacer1 Bernie Worrell spacer1 Alex Weir
spacer1 Steve Scales spacer1 Lynn Mary spacer1 Edna Holt
spacer1 David Byrne spacer1 Tina Weymouth
spacer1 Chris Frantz spacer1 Jerry Harrison
spacer1 Bernie Worrell spacer1 Alex Weir
spacer1 Steve Scales spacer1 Lynn Mary
spacer1 Edna Holt spacer1

Synopsis:
A man walks onstage with a guitar. There is a boombox waiting for him. He presses play on the boombox and starts to sing. The world changes. The man is David Byrne, the band is Talking Heads, the song is “Psycho Killer,” and the movie is Stop Making Sense, directed by Jonathan Demme. Four decades later, we live in a culture shaped by all of them.

Stop Making Sense didn’t invent the concert film; when it opened in 1984, the rockumentary was already a staple of midnight movies and film-studies courses, with Don’t Look Back, Gimme Shelter, Woodstock, The Song Remains the Same, and Rust Never Sleeps having shaped the form. But Demme perfected it, working with Byrne and bandmates Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison, and Tina Weymouth to create the ideal visual representation of a band built on precision and minimalism.

Review:
It starts with the boombox. It ends in ecstasy, with a magnificent cover of Al Green’s “Take Me to the River” that somehow recalibrates the song’s gospel glory into a plea for another sort of release. Stop Making Sense is a master class in how to shoot live performance, as Demme and Blade Runner cinematographer Jordan Cronenweth strip the Heads down to their essential parts and then fill everything back in, mindful of Byrne’s meticulous staging but also taking full advantage of the cinematic possibilities.

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