Sun Ra: Space Is the Place (1974)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Sun Ra: Space Is the Place Videos

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Movie Info

It may not come as much of a surprise to learn that avant-jazzman Sun Ra comes from outer space. In this comedy/concert film, he lands his spaceship in Oakland to show black people the "alter-destiny" he offers. He wants them to come back with him, and if he doesn't get enough volunteers, he threatens to chain them up and drag them along, "like they did ... in Africa." Like a scene from an Afro-Bergman film, Sun Ra plays cards with the evil Overseer (Ray Johnson) and wins the right to play a concert for his people all over the world! After the impressive show is over, he escapes back into space, with the Overseer and his agents hot on his heels. He saves his people and they watch the Earth explode from a distance.
Rating:
R (adult situations/language)
Genre:
Musical & Performing Arts , Science Fiction & Fantasy , Special Interest
Directed By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Plexifilm

Cast

Sun Ra
as Himself
Erika Leder
as Tania

Critic Reviews for Sun Ra: Space Is the Place

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (4)

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.

Full Review… | April 8, 2008
Variety
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | July 6, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | July 6, 2005
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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.

November 4, 2003
Village Voice
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | July 6, 2005
PopMatters

Space is the Place has the requisite style and sexuality of blaxploitation cinema, and spares the violence and generic title score.

Full Review… | October 15, 2003
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

Audience Reviews for Sun Ra: Space Is the Place

Although it has cheezy special effect, this movie really had a good message, especially to the black community. The music was also nice.

Birdie S
Birdie S

An interesting "black power", psychedelic, funky, space movie. I didn't know what to think of it.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

½

A true underground classic. Witness: not-of-this-earth music, the funky righteousness of Ra, cinematic excellence and be prepared to alter your destiny. I'd heard good (and bad) things about this film, so my curiosity was peaked. Usually when very strong reactions are evoked of such diametric opposition, it can only mean one thing: Great Art. This movie is truly mind blowing. I can think of nowhere else, where one can obtain: Sci-Fi, Blaxplotation, Philosophy, Space Jazz, and dynamite costumes in one easy-to-swallow capsule. I highly recommend this to Sun Ra fans and those with an interest in fine Avant Garde films. Sun Ra is truly an enigma, and in excellent form in this movie. See him battle the devil across many dimensions and get ready for transmolecularization and isotope teleportation...

Cassandra Maples
Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer

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