Filmed in Rotterdam and Minnesota. Formerly known as the greatest concert movie ever made, Stop Making Sense has a new challenger.

“Sign” – Just dance and vocal over the tape until Prince stops whipping his guitar around and gets down to playing it, camera flying over the stage, the rest of the group arriving marching-band-style.

“Sunshine” – Sheila has so many drums… the risers are 6 feet high… this camerawork is too composed to be spontaneous.

“Corvette” – Prince is suddenly at a piano in a different outfit, or did he just lose the glasses and the lighting changed?

“Housequake” – Haha they cut Corvette short for this. Not a great song but everyone gets to sing and P does the splits.

“Slow Love” – Crooner P tears his shirt open, lighters in the crowd, the backup singers are doing a little relationship skit, the sax player is dressed like a monk.

“I Could Never” – Brass-heavy, this time the skit has dialogue, oh no, but otherwise this is pure fire, closes with a wandering guitar section.

“Hot Thing” – Definitely a costume change, more of a sexy dance routine to a drum machine beat than a song (that’s not a complaint). All the songs I skip on the album work great in the stage show. Some of the crowd has lost their shirts at this point.

“Now’s the Time” – A staged brawl while the band jazzes out.

“U Got the Look” – Just a music video, we’re not pretending this one is being played live. Opens with a complex montage, then P duets with some redhaired woman, neither of them have mics, everyone in the band is dancing.

“If I Was Your Girlfriend” – The band is sidelined, P in fur coat with wind machine, he has sex with a dancer.

“Forever In Your Life” – Costume change, now P looks like a train conductor. You can kinda hear the acoustic guitar, but mostly it’s voice and beats, and goes on forever like the title says.

“Beautiful Night” – Falsetto in police hat, P and Sheila swap jobs.

“The Cross” – Skits reprise over a stripped-down first half, going big at the end.

Strangely Ordinary This Devotion (2017)

Stones in someone’s mouth, stones on someone’s back, then without warning, HEAD SURGERY.

Graphic sex, flossing, more stones, vomiting blood, reading an interview with Cosey from Throbbing Gristle, references to children born without the need for water, movie clips taped off the TV. All starring Sheila and Dani and a kid

Higher amount of blood-red than in an Argento film. Not the highest caliber camerawork, but the description includes the term “the domestic as site of radicality,” so it’s academic art. Words are subtitled and sometimes unspoken. Usually camera sound but sometimes for good measure there’s your avant-noise-drone, once it’s kung-fu sfx, and once a deafening Prince song. Filmed in four states, apparently.

In the great Cinema Scope story that got me watching this in the first place, Michael Sicinski points out Leventhal’s “assertive editing matrices driven by colour, gesture, and shape.”

Wilson: “I was wondering what it is to be devoted to a practice at the same time that you’re devoted to a child, while you’re also devoted to being a lover …”

“I like making the argument that we could refuse to accept the domestic as a place of stasis and instead make it unknowable or unpredictable at least. While also recognizing that it has to be functional, and Rose has to get to school on time”


Fisted (2017)

The visuals of this play like SOTD outtakes (with far less blood, but still some). The sound design is much more enjoyable than the longer piece, music and loops with fun stereo panning, the closing sounds the same as the opening so this could play as a loop – ah yes, it was an installation piece.


Hearts Are Trump Again (2010, Dani Leventhal)

Card game, spider web, accordion, hair, pigeons, harvesting chard.
Dani behind the camera, talking with a German woman waiting for her sperm donor

Prince (“The Kid”) has a dad who was a great musician and who likes to beat women. Like father, like son. Prince’s slot performing at First Ave is in danger because the slimy club owner and the slimier Morris Day want to replace him with a girl group – and Prince’s own band members are threatening revolution (hyuck) cuz he won’t play the songs they wrote. What will Prince do?! Not learn to be nice to people, and not stop his dad from killing himself, but he does turn his band members’ demo into the groovy title song, so there’s that. Movie scores points for music, costumes, Prince’s motorcycle, and hot nudity, but loses a lot to dialogue, plot and acting. A concert film (with hot nudity) would’ve been a better idea.