A new 4K restoration of The Talking Heads’ classic concert movie directed by Jonathan Demme and filmed over three nights at Hollywood’s Pantages Theater in December 1983.
IMAX World Premiere!
Stop Making Sense
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.
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.
TIFF is overjoyed to host the world premiere of this glorious 4K restoration. If you’ve never seen this film in a movie theatre, you are about to have a wonderful time. Hold tight, cool babies.
Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival