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TRUE STORIES

TRUE STORIES

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TRUE STORIES

  • Directed by David Byrne
  • Starring David Byrne, John Goodman, Annie McEnroe
  • presented by MOVIE JAM
  • 1986 | 90mins | USA | rated (15)

At the height of his band’s mid-80s popularity, Talking Heads frontman David Byrne applied his considerable talents to filmmaking and delivered his only directorial credit. While the much revered Stop Making Sense showcases the Heads’ spectacular live show, TRUE STORIES is a narrative film—a surreal ensemble comedy musical that stars Byrne as a bemused visitor to a Texan town. The movie blends visual invention, urban wit, and heartfelt human drama, as Byrne’s narrator wanders from house to bar to factory to mall, meeting the locals and guiding us through a celebration of small-town American strangeness.


True Stories is beautifully shot by Edward Lachman, the acclaimed cinematographer best known for his work with Todd Haynes, who gives the film warm, magical glow befitting of its widescreen rural Texan setting, while the cast is a dynamic mix of newcomers (including a pre-Roseanne John Goodman), established character actors, and fellow musicians. As for the music, Byrne wrote ten new songs, which incorporate a variety of quintessentially American styles, from country and gospel to rock’n’roll, Cajun pop, and New Orleans voodoo blues. Talking Heads’ penultimate album collected the band’s versions of the songs, but to really appreciate the tunes, they should be heard as sung by the actors in the movie.


True Stories was not a commercial success, and given both the legacy of Talking Heads and David Byrne’s continued popularity as a musician, artist, and writer, is surprisingly under-seen. But it remains a warm, funny, fascinatingly odd film packed with great music that holds up brilliantly 33 years later.


This is the latest screening from the music/movie collective Movie Jam. There will be an exclusive Talking Heads-themed fanzine available on the night for everyone, themed mixtapes for the first 50 folks on the door, and other surprise giveaways. So come Burn Down The House for this rare 35mm screening and enjoy a Movie Jam to remember.