Directed by David Byrne USA 1986 (89 mins) In English
In keeping with the road movie train of thought, but also because David Byrne’ s brilliant Broadway show American Utopia, as filmed by Spike Lee will screen this week-end at the New York Film Festival, our Movie of the Week this week is True Stories. Shot in beautiful bright colors by the great Ed Lachman, in a style that reminds of William Eggleston’s photos, Byrne’s debut behind the camera is a trip into the Heartland by one of America’s most prominent urban artists.
It was inspired-according to Byrne- by newspaper clippings he had collected over the years, mostly from the Weekly World News; as well as by some of the work that the former Talking Head did with Robert Wilson. While its warmth brings to mind Jonathan Demme’s sharp and tender insight for the American landscape and its contradictions. It was Demme of course that had directed Byrne in one of the greatest concert films of all time, Stop Making Sense (1984). Part faux documentary, part real life, Trues Stories is also a musical and an art installation. Byrne himself, driving a red car under a big, black cowboy hat, is our guide.
True Stories can be viewed on several streaming platforms, among which Amazon Prime and Apple TV+