- Film And TV
- 15 Dec 21
The Library of Congress adds 25 films to the registry annually, recognising aesthetically, culturally, or historically significant films that showcase “the range and diversity of American film heritage.”
Talking Heads‘ legendary concert film Stop Making Sense has been added to the National Film Registry.
The 1984 film is one of 25 new additions to the catalogue this year, with other inductees including Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi, Wall-E, Selena, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Nightmare on Elm Street and more.
Others inducted in 2021 include Richard Pryor: Live in Concert, his comedy special from 1979; Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and more, while 2020 saw Grease, The Blues Brothers, A Clockwork Orange, Shrek added to the coveted list.
In 2019, Prince’s 1984 film Purple Rain was added to the National Film Registry alongside Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It, Kevin Smith’s Clerks and Martin Scorsese’s classic concert film for the band, The Last Waltz.
See the full list of 2021 inductees to the National Film Registry here.
Stop Making Sense was directed by Jonathan Demme, and was shot over the course of four nights at Hollywood's Pantages Theater in December 1983, as Talking Heads was touring to promote new album Speaking in Tongues.
The concert serves as a comprehensive retrospective of the band's history to that time, featuring many of their popular songs after their first hit single 'Psycho Killer'. The group performs one song, 'Genius of Love', by the Tom Tom Club, a side project for two members of the band. The film is the first made entirely using digital audio techniques, with the North American outfit raising the budget of $1.2 million themselves.
The four core members of the Talking Heads included lead singer and guitarist David Byrne, drummer Chris Frantz, guitarist and keyboardist Jerry Harrison, and bassist Tina Weymouth. Backing singersLynn Mabry and Ednah Holt, guitarist Alex Weir, keyboardist Bernie Worrell, and percussionist Steve Scales joined Talking Heads on stage for Stop Making Sense.
It is commonly and widely considered by many critics to be one of the greatest concert films of all time. Leonard Maltin called it "one of the greatest rock movies ever made", Robert Christgau referred to it as "the finest concert film", while Pauline Kael dubbed it "close to perfection".
David Byrne was forced to address his use of black and brownface in a promo skit for Stop Making Sense, recently taking to Twitter after a journalist pointed out the move.
Byrne referred to the inclusion of the blackface and brownface as a “major mistake in judgement”.
“In the piece I appear as a number of different characters interviewing myself, and some of the characters portrayed are people of colour,” Byrne wrote, adding that he had “just about forgotten about this skit and I’m grateful that it has been brought to my attention”.
“To watch myself in the various characters, including black and brown face, I acknowledge it was a major mistake in judgement that showed a lack of real understanding,” he added. “It’s like looking in a mirror and seeing someone else- you’re not, or were not, the person you thought you were.”
The comments came as a number of TV shows, films and more (Peep Show, The Office, Community, 30 Rock) were removed from streaming services due to their use of blackface.
Revisit the August 2020 interview with Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz here.
- Film And TV
- 30 Nov 23