"Dearly beloved / We are gathered here today / To get through this thing called life"
Rolling Stone called Purple Rain, "one of the most enduring rock movies ever", for its showcase of the prodigious talent of Prince Rogers Nelson - and his complicated backstory.
Prince plays The Kid, a struggling Minneapolis rocker fighting his own demons, feuding with his father, abusing his girlfriend, and squaring off against a wannabe rival. It's widely held to be a fairly loose biography of the reclusive Purple One's history. The theatrical trailer certainly made that connection plain:
"Prince. In his first motion picture.
Before he created the music, he lived every bit of it.
He risked too much for the one thing that meant everything: his music. Prince, The story. The struggle. The movie."
Rolling Stone, again:
"Purple Rain feels easy to compartmentalize [sic], and — if you choose not to look closely — to dismiss: separate out the soundtrack, ignore the uneven performances, laugh at or be outraged by its misogyny. But it's all of those elements together that make it the enduring testament to Prince's artistry (and imagery) that people still watch today; when [director Albert] Magnoli wasn't effectively codifying the MTV aesthetic with his Bob Fosse-meets-Bergman approach to capturing the crowds at Minneapolis' First Avenue nightclub, he was shepherding one of the most important artists of the 1980s through a tortured, occasionally unflattering portrait of art intersecting with life."
Purple Rain will screen on SBS Australia on Friday May 19, 2017.
But the purple love doesn't stop there. We'll be stacking SBS On Demand with Graffiti Bridge and Under The Cherry Moon in the months to come.