sábado, 31 de maio de 2014

Sun Ra - Space is the place


This peculiar, rather warped feature is a product of the highly original mind of the late "musician-thinker" Sun Ra (the former Herman "Sonny" Blount, an accomplished jazz pianist and bandleader). The 82-minute, 1974 film melds effects that are straight out of '50s Japanese sci-fi, politics reflecting '60s racial radicalism, and the overall vibe of '70s blaxploitation films, with some African-Egyptian mythology thrown in for good measure. It isn't exactly a masterpiece of cinema; the production values are mediocre, the story is thin (Ra, who co-wrote, portrays an alien who offers oppressed African Americans the opportunity to seek their "alter-destiny" in outer space; complications ensue before his spaceship departs with true believers on board), the acting amateurish. But it's entertaining--Ra's array of costumes (especially his headgear) is impressive, and we do at least get a taste of his Intergalactic Solar Arkestra's heady brew of avant-garde jazz.
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. This is the director's cut of the 1974 film production restored to its original 82 minute length. Also features never before seen home movies of Sun Ra and His Arkestra. Video interview with director John Coney and producer Jim Newman. Deluxe booklet with exclusive photos, introduction by Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, liner notes by Sun Ra biographer John Szwed, and essay by director John Coney.

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