Saturday, April 14, 2007

Stop Making Sense

I get asked all the time what is my favorite film and I never have an answer. One day it's The Graduate, another day Blow Up, and the next maybe Animal Crackers. It is always differnt, but I can tell you, without hesitation, that the movie I have spent the most money seeing is Stop Making Sense, the Talking Heads concert film directed by Jonathan Demme.

I love this film and during the winter and spring of 1984-85 I dragged friends to the now defunct Fine Arts Theater seven times to see it. I bought the sound track album- cassette, then CD. I bought the VHS tape, the expanded soundtrack album on CD (twice), the film on DVD, and I have given the film as gifts several times. An unhealthy obsession? Probably.

Funny thing is, I wasn't a Talking Heads fan when I first saw the film. I became a fan because the film is so good. In years past I often showed the film on the first day of class. I felt it set a tone- if the teacher will play rock and roll on the first day, how bad can he be? It is also is a great example of a three act structure in a non-narrative film. In the first act the band members enter one at a time through the first four songs as the stage is built around them. The second act is the set of songs with the full band and their back up players. The act ends with the Tom Tom Club's song Genius of Love. The final act starts when David Byrne reappears in the Big Suit.

Unlike other concert films, the emphasis is on the band and the music. No crowd shots, no back stage interviews, just Talking Heads in concert. I think this is some of Demme's best work. Even though he won an Oscar for Silence of the Lambs, I still prefer his documentary and non-narrative films like Swimming to Cambodia, Cousin Bobby and Storefront Hitchcock- a must from Robyn Hitchcock fans.

So, for today, if anyone asks me what my favorite film is, my answer will be "Stop Making Sense." Check it out.

PeterH

1 comment:

AmyMeacham said...

It's absolutely one of the best concert movies ever. Pink Floyd's Pulse is very close behind, I think.