Category Archives: Jonathan Demme

Jonathan Demme, a Multi-Talented Director, Dies at 73.

On April 26, the world lost a multi-talented director. Jonathan Demme boasted an unusually eclectic resume, including everything from the horror classic The Silence of the Lambs to Stop Making Sense, a well-regarded concert film featuring the Talking Heads.  Demme was 73.

 

Demme began his directing career in the early 1970s with low budget movies for B-movie king Roger Corman. By the mid-1980s, he had branched out into a more varied bill of fare. Romantic dramas such as Swing Shift and Something Wild were popular and critical successes.

 

In the 1990s, Demme directed two films back-to-back by which he may be best remembered. Silence of the Lambs eventually became a worldwide hit and garnered five Oscars, the only horror film to date so to accomplish this feat. Next came Philadelphia, one of the first films to intelligently and sensitively address HIV/AIDS and homosexuality to be released by a major studio.

 

Demme was also known as a director of high-quality theatrical documentaries of musical acts. He directed concert films of the Talking Heads, Neil Young, Robyn Hitchcock, and other artists. In these films, he favored a somewhat naturalistic style that focused less on the audience and more on the artists. In the hands of less inspired directors, concert films remain a fairly disposable genre. Demme brought respectability to the concert movie while exposing the artists to a larger audience.

 

Demme is survived by his wife, Joanne Howard, and his three children.