In celebration of the 40th anniversary of 1984 concert film “Stop Making Sense” by the Talking Heads, the Salina Art Center Cinema is now playing the fully remastered documentary this Friday, November 3 to Wednesday, November 8, 2023.
Considered by critics as the greatest concert film of all time, the live performance was shot over the course of three nights at Hollywood’s Pantages Theater in December of 1983 and features Talking Heads’ most memorable songs.
David Cooper writes for the venue concert films are a unique genre. Although nothing can fully replicate the experience of attending a concert in person, a great concert film compensates by bringing viewers closer to the musicians, providing a sense of intimacy that allows us to see some of the stagecraft as well as the electrifying artistry. This doesn’t diminish the music; it gives depth and character to the larger-than-life stars we love. And the nearly consensus choice of greatest concert film ever made is the late Jonathan Demme’s mesmerizing, eccentric, crowd-pleasing document of the Talking Heads, back on screens for its 40th anniversary and doing what it did in 1984—making converts out of skeptics and reaffirming what longtime fans already knew: crazy-eyed, rubber-limbed frontman David Byrnes and his amazing bandmates—guitarist Jerry Harrison, bassist Tina Weymouth, and drummer Chris Frantz—still rock harder, smarter, and wackier than anyone else on the planet. But the wackiness is deceptive, because classics like “Burning Down the House,” “Psycho Killer,” “Once in a Lifetime,” “Take Me to the River,” and many others are haunting and powerful as well as odd and strangely amusing.
Musical brilliance coupled with straight-faced weirdness can be off-putting, but Demme (one of the great humanists in cinema) showcases just how fun, engaging, and likeable the band was—which is why Stop Making Sense is the perfect introduction for newcomers. This new 4K restoration also celebrates the band’s innovative visual approach to live performance. Byrnes’ “big suit” is the movie’s most enduring image, but the film is filled with unusual props, settings, choreography, lighting, and use of eclectic guest musicians and vocalists.
At their creative peak, a Talking Heads concert was more than a run-through of the hits—it was an evocative, highly stylized experience that created a variety of emotions in the audience. This stunning film perfectly captures the band’s unique, quirky personality and provides definitive versions of their most infectious, exhilarating songs.
Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office.
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The 40th Anniversary celebration of the film by Talking Heads
Starring: The Talking Heads
Documentary | Rated PG for some suggestive material | 88 minutes