The entire Talking Heads section at Toronto’s Scotiabank IMAX Theatre on Monday night stood up and danced during their landmark concert film, Stop Making Sense, instigated by enthusiastic audience members, especially at the back who were on their feet as if at a live show. One person even leapt over the railing, ran across the aisle, and sprinted up the stairs then back to his seat, lickety split.
It was that kind of atmosphere for the world premiere of the newly restored 4K version of the Jonathan Demme-directed concert film celebrating its 40th anniversary as part of the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival: Joyous. Fun. Clapping and cheering included, although it was hard to tell to if it was live or the December 1983 audience at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. Such is the brilliance of digital surround sound.
It was also hard to see in the dark theater if all the former band members — frontman/guitarist David Byrne, guitarist/keyboardist Jerry Harrison, and bassist Tina Weymouth, drummer Chris Frantz (the rhythm section are husband and wife) — were on their feet, but the Q&A afterwards with Spike Lee seemed to indicate that they were.
“Although, it’s a little steep for dancing, but some people managed to,” said Frantz, while Harrison added, “I couldn’t sit at the side seat. I had to walk up to the back and watch it up there so I could dance around a little bit and just sort of experience. I didn’t want to be off at the side. I wanted to experience the wide screen.”
Mused Byrne: “When I was watching this just now, I was thinking, ‘This is why we come to the movie theaters. This is different than watching it on my laptop,’” he laughed. “This is really different.”
The restored 40-year-old film on the giant IMAX screen was the hot ticket at TIFF, the annual star-studded 10-day screening bonanza featuring some 200 films, many of them world premieres seeking distribution. That was due to the appearance of Byrne, Harrison, Weymouth and Frantz, who agreed to reunite for the first time in 20 years and sit down for an interview with Lee, following the world premiere. The once in a lifetime event —for which resellers were trying to get as much as $500 per ticket — was simulcast at IMAX theaters around the world. The film will be “everywhere” on September 29th.