R.I.P. Jonathan Demme

Jonathan Demme & David Byrne in 1984 // photo by Nick Elgar / Getty Images

Jonathan Demme & David Byrne in 1984 // photo by Nick Elgar / Getty Images

This morning, it was reported that Oscar-winning film director Jonathan Demme had passed away at the age of 73, due to complications from esophageal cancer. His lengthy filmology includes blockbusters like Philadelphia and The Silence of the Lambs, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Director. But, Demme is also known and beloved in the music world for his early work on documentaries like Talking HeadsStop Making Sense (1984) and Robyn Hitchcock‘s Storefront Hitchcock (1998). Much like director John Hughes, Demme used his films to celebrate his favorite music, casting The Feelies as the high school reunion band in the 1986 film Something Wild and using bands like New Order in his soundtracks. He even directed music videos for The Feelies, New Order, KRS-One, Bruce Springsteen, and others.

In fact, his eleven-minute video for New Order’s “The Perfect Kiss” is more than just a live performance clip; with the empathic eye he turned towards all his projects, Demme is able to capture the anxieties of the complex orchestration of the track. You can see his early mastery of angles and shots. And note the Joy Division poster in the background; Demme has always been one not to ignore the details. KEXP has collected some of his musical magic below. Thank you, Jonathan Demme, for decades of work that we can continue to enjoy today. Demme’s family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Americans for Immigrant Justice in Miami.






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