Demme, Jonathan (Robert Jonathan Demme)dĕm´ē [key], 1944–2017, American filmmaker, b. Baldwin, N.Y. Demme, known for eclectic subjects and social satire, made feature films, documentaries, and concert films. After working as a publicist, he began directing in the 1970s. Among his early films were Handle with Care (1977), Melvin and Howard (1980), Swing Shift (1984), Something Wild (1986), a road trip film that emphasizes his wide-ranging interest in music, and Married to the Mob (1988). The Silence of the Lambs (1991), a breakout hit that won five Academy Awards including best picture and best director, is a lurid thriller featuring a brilliant but cannibalistic psychiatrist. Philadelphia (1993) was one of the first films to address the AIDS epidemic, and Beloved (1988), adapted from Toni Morrison's novel, deals with the long-term effects of slavery. The Truth about Charlie (2002) is a thriller based on the 1963 film Charade, and his Manchurian Candidate (2004) is also a remake. Rachel Getting Married (2008) deals with family entanglements during a weekend wedding. Demme made documentaries about Jimmy Carter and the singer Neil Young, among others; Stop Making Sense (1984) is a Talking Heads concert film.
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