Shock Corridor Cinema Presents: The Talking Heads' STOP MAKING SENSE (1984).
yet another in a series of concert films:
the talking heads'
STOP MAKING SENSE (J. Demme, 1984)
Tuesday, Sept. 14th; 9pm.
2516 Douglas St. (at Bay St.)
"Not only did Stop Making Sense apparently get people dancing in the aisles, it broke house records in even relatively unknown independent theaters such as Seattle's Pike Place Cinema."
--- Neva Chonin, San Francisco Chronicle
Shock Corridor Cinema continues in its current indulgence to screen the finest concert films before year's end by adding The Talking Head's STOP MAKING SENSE to the fray. Filmed in 1984 over three nights by Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme, in collaboration with art-nerd David Byrne, this concert film classic classic (perhaps our first program to date that features a work from the 80s) plays out with the intensity and unsuspecting turns that only the more experimental films of the genre can offer.
Unlike most concert films that offer "sneak peeks" of backstage banter, fodder that generally amounts to nothing short of self-engradizement and faux cinema verite intimacy (how many times are we expected to watch our rock gods bitch about the press?), STOP MAKING SENSE invokes its live footage exclusively and economically, illustrating a band crackling with energy in and around their uniquely thought provoking stage show at a time when the band was at the peak of their creative trajectory. In addition to being treated to the spectacle of David Byrne's numerous and symbolic costume changes (Byrne's legendary giant suit designed by the singer's wife and costume designer Adelle Lutz makes its unforgettable debut on this tour, currently hanging in a glass box at the San Francisco MOMA) the film invokes Byrne's creative stage direction/design making this film a must see for any pop music geek, not to mention anyone who studies post-structuralism with a certain degree of passion: At the film's outset, the concert stage becomes a character in of itself, one that breathes new life into postmodernism's view of "culture as construct" as we watch the set design of the live show physically and incrementally built around Byrne as he offers a solo version of Psycho Killer with the bare accompaniment of a portable stereo ("Ghetto Blaster") in tow.
More appealing is the delicate balance of Byrne's self-effacing yet completely dazzling stage presence which amps the film (and band) to hieghts rarely seen in popular music. The stage building sequences alone perhaps stand as the most enticing moment to ever appear in rock culture's vacuous world of visual representation (Nigel Tufnil's rendition of "Lick My Love Pump" from the film This Is Spinal Tap notwithstanding). Byrne and Demme's arty bent on the live concert setting is radical for its day and especially meaningful when the homogenization of pop music through such visual 80s media as MTV is considered.
Come treat yourself to that rare place where art rock and pop music collide. The band is in fine form throughout the film's 80+ minutes, "blissing out on stage in way that makes other rock bands seem incredibly stoic in their approach to live performance" (an observation Jenny Sommers once expressed following a fantastic screening at Cinecenta upon the film's 15th anniversary re-release a few years back). If you never saw the Talking Heads live, or have not experienced David Byrne's fluid/hip dance moves up close, you don't really know what your missing until you have experienced STOP MAKING SENSE on the big screen.
Please Note: This film will be presented in widescreen. Audio will be turned up to 11 (or there abouts).