David Byrne’s American Utopia

Spike Lee, USA 2020, 105’
no Polish translation provided
Black Bear First Cow

Spike Lee directing David Byrne of Talking Heads? If you thought 2020 could no longer surprise you, you were wrong. David Byrne’s American Utopia is probably one of the best, one of the most American, and also one of the most peculiar movies you’ll ever see, although, contrary to appearances, it’s not just for fans of the band or its lead singer—or even for fans of Broadway musicals. It’s both a phenomenon and a marvel at the same time. It’s both a commentary on the current state of the world and its own original kind of TED talk interrupted by songs and choreographed numbers. Quotes from Baldwin and Janelle Monáe trickle lazily from the screen; Colin Kaepernick, Emmett Till, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery are mentioned; the only thing missing is “Psycho Killer.” What’s most remarkable, however, is the restraint and respect with which Lee approaches Byrne’s scenography and vision—dominated by a gray asceticism and bare feet, where every flash of color (even on the performers’ eyelids) takes on the shape of a manifesto of the most important truths. As a headline in “Vanity Fair” reads, Spike Lee’s American Utopia shows David Byrne in Peak Electrifying Form.

Magdalena Maksimiuk

Spike Lee

Born in Atlanta in 1957, Spike Lee is a director, screenwriter, producer, and actor, and also one of the most iconic figures in American cinema. He has been nominated for four Oscars, winning twice: for Best Adapted Screenplay for BlacKkKlansman (ninth American Film Festival) in 2018, and an honorary Oscar in 2016. He has also won two Primetime Emmys and two BAFTA awards, and has been twice nominated for a Golden Globe. His films have been shown at international festivals, including in Berlin, Cannes, San Sebastian, and Venice. He lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Do the Right Thing was screened at last year’s American Film Festival in the “Anniversaries and Comebacks” section.


1986 Ona się doigra / She's Gotta Have It

1989 Rób, co należy / Do the Right Thing

1990 Czarny blues / Mo' Better Blues

1992 Malcolm X

1994 Crooklyn

2018 Czarne bractwo. BlacKkKlansman / BlacKkKlansman

2020 Pięciu braci / Da 5 Bloods

2020 David Byrne: American Utopia / David Byrne’s American Utopia

Cast & Crew

director Spike Lee
screenplay David Byrne
cinematography Ellen Kuras
editing Adam Gough
music David Byrne
cast David Byrne, Chris Giarmo, Angie Swan, Jacqueline Acevedo
producer Spike Lee, Meredith Bennerr, David Bither, Len Blavatnik, David Byrne, Jeff Skoll, Diane Weyermann, Christa Zofcin Workman, Bill Pohlad, Maureen Paglia
production 0 Acres & A Mule Filmworks, Participant, RadicalMedia, River Road Entertainment, Spike Lee Joint, Todo Mundo, Warner Music Group
sales Universal
language English
coloration colour
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