A Certain Sacrifice
Directed by Stephen Jon Lewicki
Written by Stephen Jon Lewicki, Jeremy Pattnosh, Robert Manganaro Morris
Starring: Madonna, Jeremy Pattnosh, Charles Kurtz
Music by Jeremy Pattnosh
Distributed by Cine Cine Productions
Release dates: 1979
Running time: 60 minutes
Country: United States
A Certain Sacrifice is singer Madonna's first movie, made in September 1979, written and directed by Stephen Jon Lewicki. Madonna starred with Jeremy Pattnosh and Charles Kurtz. Madonna's earliest film was not released until 1985. The movie is an "oddball" indie, shot on-and-off over two years in New York City for just $20,000. Madonna finished her scenes in the Fall of 1980. Almost all of the cast were unpaid.
Madonna played the part of Bruna, a Lower East Side resident who lives with three "love slaves" (one male, one female, one transgender). Bruna meets Dashiell (Pattnosh) in the water fountain in Washington Square Park and the two "fall in love". Bruna tells her lovers she doesn't need them anymore. They attack her sexually (this scene caused controversy since Madonna is topless). Later, Bruna is raped by Raymond Hall (Kurtz) in a bathroom at a coffee shop. To exact retribution, Bruna enlists her love slaves and Dashiell to abduct the rapist. They dress up as hookers and lure him into a limo. They lead him to a theatre where a Satanic sacrifice is performed. Dashiell later wipes Raymond's blood all over Bruna.
In 1985, A Certain Sacrifice was released on video to capitalize on Madonna's fame, and in 1986, there were theatrical midnight screenings. Madonna tried to buy the rights from director Stephen Jon Lewicki for $5,000. Unsuccessful, she then attempted to ban the film from being seen. Stephen Lewicki invited her to view it; Madonna was reportedly unhappy with the result. According to Lewicki, she had an expression of horror on her face and screamed: "Fuck you".
Despite Madonna's second thoughts about having participated in this movie, Lewicki had nothing but compliments for her. One of his oft-repeated stories was how he "discovered" Madonna and was amazed that she hand-wrote a three-page letter for a part that didn't even pay. She was only paid $100. (And she was paid only because she was short on her apartment rent and Lewicki paid her to help out.) To author Christopher Andersen, who wrote the 1991 biography Madonna Unauthorized, Lewicki said: "That woman has more sensuality in her ear than most women have anywhere on their bodies."
Actor Jeremy Pattnosh wrote and performed several songs in the film, including: "Certain Sacrifice (Raymond Hall Must Die Tonight)" & "Screamin' Demon Lover".
A Certain Sacrifice