Friday, February 26, 2010
Trailer for "Ride Rise Roar" (2010)
Directed by Hillman Curtis. Have a look at the trailer for Ride Rise Roar, the David Byrne concert film (premiering March 14 at SXSW in Austin, Texas) and see if you don't agree that it looks like it just might be as beautiful and exciting as 1984's "Stop Making Sense."
Unless you are my Dad, odds are you're aware that "Stop Making Sense" is the 1984 concert film of Byrne's art-pop act, Talking Heads (by Jonathan Demme) that could have revolutionized concert films had anybody bothered to pick up the gauntlet.
Prior to "Stop Making Sense," concert films tended to be horribly boring. For one thing, rock artists did not bother to think about what elements of their performance might or might not translate interestingly to film. This meant that, other than maybe Neil Young, nobody thought to produce a show that catered especially to the film goer. Also, it hadn't occurred to anybody to shoot concerts with the lights on, something movie film desperately needs to work -- especially prior to the advent of digital video. This resulted in dark, grainy films that strain the eyes.
"Stop Making Sense" was a beautiful revelation, with its brightly lit, tastefully minimal stage set. In fact, minimalism was a deceptively satirical theme in the show's subtle attention to a movie's three-act narrative structure. Simply put, the film is beautiful to look at and a joy to watch.
Unapologetically artsy, "Stop Making Sense" manages to balance its intellectual presentation without ever feeling pretentious. In the same way that "This is Spinal Tap" earned its smirk with spot-on satire, "Stop Making Sense" earns its straight-faced artiness with sound, color, movement, beauty and an overall uniqueness the likes of which had never before been seen.
The film barely grossed $1 million when it was released, though it's soundtrack record sold well. In retrospect, a very fortunate thing happened -- nothing. The success of high concept music videos for marketing music pretty much guaranteed we wouldn't see a bunch of shitty imitations of "Stop Making Sense" featuring the Police and Van Halen. Instead, Billy Idol punched the air, David Lee Roth swung from a wire, Madonna rolled around in a lot of outfits.
Now, almost 25 years later, we can hope that Ride Rise Roar holds a candle to "Stop Making Sense."