Space Is The Place (1974)
Average Rating: 5.7/10
Reviews Counted: 7
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 2
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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 0
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 1,002
Avant-garde jazz musician Sun Ra stars in the movie version of his concept album Space Is the Place. Not following a linear plot line, this experimental film is a bizarre combination of social commentary, blaxploitation, science fiction, and concert performance. The opening scene is set in an intergalactic forest, with Sun Ra introducing his plan to use music as salvation for the black community. Back on Earth, he wears a disguise as Sunny Ray, a piano player in a 1940s Chicago strip club who
Dec 1, 1974 Wide
Oct 28, 2003
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It's standard blaxploitation settings and elements -- crime fighters and criminals, pimps and hookers, a pool hall and a brothel -- but the presence of the Outer Space Employment Agency makes it extraordinary.
Space Is the Place has more than a few hokey moments, but it also illuminates Ra's work. For him, outer space wasn't just a gimmick or a convenient source of song titles. It was a zone where racism was inoperative.
Its lighthearted surrealist high jinks, dressed up with SF trappings and black-power rhetoric, make for pleasant enough viewing, but the music seems strictly incidental.
There could have been more music, but this version of Space Is the Place is 20 minutes longer than the one issued in the early '90s on VHS and includes home movie footage of Sun Ra's 1972 Egyptian concert in the shadow of the pyramids.
Not that it's a bad film, but perhaps only true Sun Ra devotees, and those hoping to learn more about the artist would only really appreciate it.
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