Sun Ra: Space Is the Place (1974)
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Critic Reviews for Sun Ra: Space Is the Place
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.
Audience Reviews for Sun Ra: Space Is the Place
An interesting "black power", psychedelic, funky, space movie. I didn't know what to think of it.
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...
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