Repertory Picks

David Byrne’s Wild Texas Odyssey in Chicago

On Film / In Theaters — Sep 13, 2018

Tomorrow and Tuesday, Chicago’s Gene Siskel Film Center will give the spotlight to David Byrne’s 1986 True Stories, as the Talking Heads front man’s first and only feature screens in 35 mm. Part surreal comedy and part rock musical, Byrne’s episodic film pays a visit to the fictional Virgil, Texas, following a number of tabloid-inspired eccentrics—including John Goodman’s lovelorn technician, Spalding Gray’s civic leader with an unconventional marriage, and Swoosie Kurtz’s woman who’s too lazy to leave her bed—as the town goes all-out in celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding. Byrne, who also appears in the film as the bolo-tie-sporting narrator, shows an especially keen eye for the unique landscape of north central Texas, with Ed Lachman’s resonant photography capturing the seemingly endless expanses that open out around the region’s highways, subdivisions, and shopping malls. Attendees of the Tuesday screening in Chicago will have a chance to take an especially close look at Byrne’s portrayal of this American frontier: after the movie, Jon Cates, a professor in the Film, Video, New Media, and Animation department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, will deliver a lecture on its idiosyncratic connections to the western genre.