Home Read Classic DVD Review: Sun Ra | Space Is The Place

Classic DVD Review: Sun Ra | Space Is The Place

The avant-jazz bandleader comes down to Earth in this indecipherable filmic gem.

This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Some movies are so bad they’re good. Space Is The Place is so absurd it’s brilliant.

Filmed in 1974, this bit of cinematic travesty stars avant-garde jazz bandleader Sun Ra. It’s not hard to see why somebody would want to put Ra into movie — after all, he used to dress in Egyptian outfits and claim he was from Saturn. What is harder to figure out, though, is why two white filmmakers decided to cast him in this hilariously cheeseball blaxploitation sci-fi flick. I’m still trying to decipher the plot, but it has something to do with Sun coming down from space in his music-powered eyeball-bra spaceship to save the black race from the devil … or the man … or NASA … or, oh hell, who knows? All I know is that it includes some decent live footage of Sun and his Arkestra, along with home-movie footage of the band cavorting around the pyramids. It’s enough to make a great movie on its own.