True Stories

True Stories

Criterion Collection Edition #951

Music icon David Byrne was inspired by tabloid headlines to make his sole foray into feature-film directing, an ode to the extraordinariness of ordinary American life and a distillation of what was in his own idiosyncratic mind. The Talking Heads front man plays a visitor to Virgil, Texas, who introduces us to the citizens of the town during preparations for its Celebration of Specialness. As shot by cinematographer Ed Lachman, Texas becomes a hyperrealistic late-capitalist landscape of endless vistas, shopping malls, and prefab metal buildings. In TRUE STORIES, Byrne uses his songs to stitch together pop iconography, voodoo rituals, and a singular variety show—all in the service of uncovering the rich mysteries that lurk under the surface of everyday experience.

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True Stories
  • True Stories

    Directed by David Byrne • 1986 • United States
    Starring David Byrne, John Goodman, Spalding Gray

    Music icon David Byrne was inspired by tabloid headlines to make his sole foray into feature-film directing, an ode to the extraordinariness of ordinary American life and a distillation of what wa...

Extras

  • David Byrne

  • The Making of TRUE STORIES

    This documentary, created in 2018, revisits the making of TRUE STORIES, David Byrne’s only feature-film-directing effort, from its conceptual origins through its production. The film features Byrne, actors Jo Harvey Allen and Spalding Gray, artist/songwriter Terry Allen, cinematographer Ed Lachma...

  • Tibor Kalman

    Tibor Kalman revolutionized graphic design. His innovative company, M&Co, created several album covers for Talking Heads. M&Co worked again with David Byrne on the opening montage and poster design for TRUE STORIES. This short documentary, made in 2018, explores Kalman’s legacy and features Byrne...

  • Real Life

    In 1985, filmmakers Pamela Yates and Newton Thomas Sigel were invited to create a film about the making of David Byrne’s TRUE STORIES. The resulting short, presented here, captures members of the cast and crew interacting with locals and getting to know the Texas communities in which they were fi...

  • Deleted Scenes

  • No Time to Look Back

    In 2018, just over thirty years after director David Byrne’s journey to “Virgil, Texas,” filmmakers Bill and Turner Ross returned to TRUE STORIES’ shooting locations in search of its people and places. The film they made is a celebration of 182 years of the extraordinary specialness of Texas.