David Byrne

True Stories

True Stories

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.

Film Info

  • David Byrne
  • United States
  • 1986
  • 89 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.85:1
  • English
  • Spine #951

Special Features

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION:

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by director David Byrne and cinematogra­pher Ed Lachman, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, supervised by Byrne, on the Blu-ray
  • New documentary about the film’s production, featuring Byrne, Lachman, screenwriter Stephen Tobolowsky, executive producer Edward Pressman, coproducer Karen Murphy, fashion-show costume designer Adelle Lutz, casting director Victoria Thomas, consultant Christina Patoski, actor Jo Harvey Allen, and artist and songwriter Terry Allen
  • CD containing the film’s complete soundtrack, compiled here for the first time (Blu-ray only)
  • Real Life (1986), a short documentary by Pamela Yates and Newton Thomas Sigel made on the set of the film
  • No Time to Look Back, a new homage to Virgil, Texas, the fictional town where True Stories is set
  • New documentary about designer Tibor Kalman and his influence on Byrne and work on the film, featuring Byrne and artist Maira Kalman, Tibor’s widow
  • Deleted scenes
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: Essays by critic Rebecca Bengal and journalist and author Joe Nick Patoski, along with, for the Blu-ray edition, an essay by Byrne; a 1986 piece by actor Spalding Gray on the film’s production; and a selection of production photography, along with Byrne’s tabloid clippings and writing about the film’s visual motifs

New cover based on concepts by Tibor Kalman/M & Co.

Purchase Options

Released Nov 27, 2018

Special Features

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION:

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by director David Byrne and cinematogra­pher Ed Lachman, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, supervised by Byrne, on the Blu-ray
  • New documentary about the film’s production, featuring Byrne, Lachman, screenwriter Stephen Tobolowsky, executive producer Edward Pressman, coproducer Karen Murphy, fashion-show costume designer Adelle Lutz, casting director Victoria Thomas, consultant Christina Patoski, actor Jo Harvey Allen, and artist and songwriter Terry Allen
  • CD containing the film’s complete soundtrack, compiled here for the first time (Blu-ray only)
  • Real Life (1986), a short documentary by Pamela Yates and Newton Thomas Sigel made on the set of the film
  • No Time to Look Back, a new homage to Virgil, Texas, the fictional town where True Stories is set
  • New documentary about designer Tibor Kalman and his influence on Byrne and work on the film, featuring Byrne and artist Maira Kalman, Tibor’s widow
  • Deleted scenes
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: Essays by critic Rebecca Bengal and journalist and author Joe Nick Patoski, along with, for the Blu-ray edition, an essay by Byrne; a 1986 piece by actor Spalding Gray on the film’s production; and a selection of production photography, along with Byrne’s tabloid clippings and writing about the film’s visual motifs

New cover based on concepts by Tibor Kalman/M & Co.

True Stories
Cast
John Goodman
Louis Fyne
Annie McEnroe
Kay Culver
Swoosie Kurtz
Lazy Woman
Spalding Gray
Earl Culver
David Byrne
Narrator
Jo Harvey
Lying Woman
Roebuck “Pops”
Mr. Tucker
Alix Elias
Cute Woman
Tito Larriva
Ramon
Matthew Posey
Computer Guy
John Ingle
Preacher
Credits
Director
David Byrne
Writer
Stephen Tobolowsky
Writer
Beth Henley
Writer
David Byrne
Executive producer
Edward R. Pressman
Producer
Gary Kurfirst
Coproducer
Karen Murphy
Director of photography
Ed Lachman
Editor
Caroline Biggerstaff
Production designer
Barbara Ling
Costume design
Elizabeth McBride
Fashion-show costumes
Adelle Lutz
Casting director
Victoria Thomas
Sound designer
Leslie Shatz
Songs recorded by
Talking Heads
Texas production associate
Christina Patoski

From The Current

The “Very Unusual” Fashion Show at the Heart of True Stories
The “Very Unusual” Fashion Show at the Heart of True Stories

In this video, artist Adelle Lutz and director David Byrne discuss the weird and wonderful outfits in a particularly outrageous set piece in the film.

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True Stories: Everybody Has Tones
True Stories: Everybody Has Tones

David Byrne cracked open the profound strangeness of small-town Texas in this wonderfully symphonic film, his sole foray into narrative-feature directing.

By Rebecca Bengal

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David Byrne’s Wild Texas Odyssey in Chicago

Repertory Picks

David Byrne’s Wild Texas Odyssey in Chicago

The Talking Heads front man mines the extraordinariness of ordinary American life in his surreal genre hybrid True Stories, playing at the Gene Siskel Film Center tomorrow and Tuesday.

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