I was having fish n chips with my dad this week. He had cod, I had plaice. He said: good cod! I said, space is the plaice! Sun Ra
My personal passion for Sun Ra is well known, just scroll down this blog under the Jazz section to have a prove about that. Said so, you don’t have to be surprised about the fact that I was very excited when I saw this movie for the very first time. Of course I was not excited either about the plot or the screenplay, they are both very poor. Besides that, I don’t even want to spend words and time about the very bad acting skills of the actors, they are really not judgeable. Instead, I have found very interesting this film for the great mix between blaxploitation and Sci Fi movies. A perfect match.
I loved in particular the crude and second rate special effects and in general the irrational, lysergic and dreamlike atmosphere of many shots (especially when Ra is the main character). The whole movie is surreal as a Dali painting. Do I really have to spend time talking about the soundtrack? Nah, you know the deal when Sun Ra is involved…
Product description from the back cover: Science fiction, blaxploitation, cosmic free-jazz and radical race politics combine when Sun Ra returns to earth in his music-powered space ship to battle for the future of the black race and offer an “alter-destiny” to those who would join him. Intentionally created as an homage to the low-budget science fiction films of the 50′s and 60′s, SPACE IS THE PLACE became a visual embodiment of Sun Ra’s Afro-Egyptian myth of salvation in outer space. The special effects, outrageous plot line and apocalyptic message harmonize with the otherworldly score and a climactic live performance by one of the most innovative and profound groups in jazz history. After having traveled through space in a yellow spaceship propelled by music, Sun Ra finds a planet he believes could serve as a new home for the black race. Returning to earth, he lands in Oakland, California circa 1972 and has to battle The Overseer, played by Ray Johnson (from 1971′s DIRTY HARRY), a supernatural villain exploiting the black people. The Overseer, the FBI, and NASA — who are after Ra’s Black Space Program — attempt to assassinate Ra, who escapes into space with his followers before the destruction of Earth. Cosmic blaxploitation cum sociological critique, SPACE IS THE PLACE defies categorization. It is at once a platform for Sun Ra’s radical racial philosophies, an indictment of the government’s policies in Vietnam-era U.S., cult camp flick, sci-fi movie and concert film with unforgettable performances by the Intergalactic Solar Arkestra. Since its extremely limited release in 1974 — the film played very briefly in San Francisco and New York — SPACE IS THE PLACE has become an underground legend spoken about but never seen, and if so, in poorly dubbed bootlegs or in the severely adulterated 1992 VHS version.
Watch the movie here!
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