Jonathan Demme, who helmed Talking Heads’ seminal Stop Making Sense, also directed legendary alt-rocker Neil Young in this surprisingly affecting feature. The duo had previously paired up on music videos and for the Oscar-nominated track that Young wrote for Demme’s Philadelphia (which was used at the end of the movie). Filmed over two nights at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium, many of the songs came from Young’s Prairie Wind album, which was written following Young’s brush with death from a potentially fatal brain aneurysm earlier in the decade. For the most part, these were tracks the audience had never heard before. Demme (who also manned the camera) and cinematographer Ellen Kuras (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, No Direction Home: Bob Dylan) stuck to a resolutely simple setup, leaving the songs — in Young’s plaintive, heartfelt tenor — all the more memorable.
TIME’s take: “The film makes you feel that an artist who always seemed to be standing on the other side of a milewide canyon is suddenly in your living room.”
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