September 14, 2023

CINEMA | Talking Heads Starts 'Stop Making Sense' x TIFF 2023

"Talking Heads was such a good band."
David Byrne Jonathan Demme | Talking Heads Stop Making Sense | TIFF 2023
Toronto International Film Festival
A24's newly acquired, soon-to-be re-released 1984 seminal Talking Heads live rock documentary directed by the late Jonathan Demme has been gloriously restored in sparkling 4K video optimized for IMAX screens. Long considered "the greatest concert film ever" made, Stop Making Sense's pulsating musical cinematic composition feels as energetic and rhythmically innovative as ever, nearly four decades later.

Captured over the course of three evening performances during the band's Speaking in Tongues era at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood in 1983, there has always been a seamless, consistently entertaining vibe to the entirety of the ninety-minute runtime as it mirrors the euphoric experience of watching an actual concert with a live crowd but caught on film. Still, Demme's careful direction makes sure to use his cinematic tricks only to enhance and spike that musical euphoria during key moments of songs—highly informed by frontman David Byrne's bizarrely captivating stage presence.

Demme perfectly captures everything appealing about Talking Heads as a band and musical experience. Stop Making Sense is never not completely engrossing as a rock and roll ride translated through the screen. This enhanced version only further brings the past into the future in a way that makes the music all the more propulsive. Its overall fidelity has aged and held up incredibly well thanks in part to the pioneering use of early digital audio techniques.

Stop Making Sense's 4K restoration premiered in IMAX at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival as part of the Special Presentations program, where all four band members reunited for the first time in twenty-one years for a live post-screening Q&A moderated by American Utopia director Spike Lee.


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