Purple Rain (1984), was a film that ultimately was the showcase of Prince’s album of the same name. The film follows the Prince playing The Kid as he battles with his rise to stardom with his own personal struggles, and was the last film we watched of our eight week course.
From having people travel down from the far cast lands of Leeds to come view this film in a cinema (a rare opportunity now), to comments about falling asleep during the viewing, Purple Rain was definitely the most eclectic of our screenings.
For me, while the music was stunning (in both audience reaction and its critical acclaim – it won an Oscar for Best Original Song Score, after all) the other aspects of the film, such as the story, decidedly… weren’t.
Purple Rain being the black sheep of the course – was it even a musical? – brought the lecture back to the question that we’ve been exploring the whole course:
What makes a cult film? And what is a Cult Musical?
We’re… still not sure.
Our little group hummed and aahed for some time, bringing up favoured Cult films, what may be considered Cult in the future, and how the films we watched compared to what we knew of the cult genre. But no decisive conclusion could be made.
What I am sure of, that I mentioned in a previous blog post, is that the Cult genre and musicals go hand in hand, and I can say that with much more assurance four films later. Musicals have a self-awareness that most other genres don’t, and that lends itself to the socio-cultural commentary that most other cult films have a knack in highlighting.
As someone who is undertaking a degree in the area of film, seminars, lectures and discussions of films are the meat and potatoes of my week. But nothing opens your eyes more than being thrown in a group of people you’ve never met to talk about art, or in this case, films, that you’d never seen. They’ve gone from strangers – from different backgrounds, academic understanding, and beliefs – to being peers. We wanted to talk and learn more about films, so there we were.
Conversations happened long after even the course leader left, and I walked out of all my screenings and lectures with one new conclusion in mind:
I want to know even more.