Art Kane, now deceased, coordinated a group photograph of all the top jazz musicians in NYC in the year 1958, for a piece in Esquire magazine. Just about every jazz musician at the time ... See full summary »
A self-absorbed Black American fashion model on a photo shoot in Africa is spiritually transported back to a plantation in the West Indies where she experiences first-hand the physical and ... See full summary »
Documentary on the life of jazz trumpeter and drug addict Chet Baker. Fascinating series of interviews with friends, family, associates and lovers, interspersed with film from Baker's ... See full summary »
Set ten years after the most peaceful revolution in United States history, a revolution in which a socialist government gains power, this films presents a dystopia in which the issues of ... See full summary »
A quixotic artist hypothesizes about why he feels bad when a mystery girl stands him up. The event prompts him to ask: what's the content of a momentary feeling? Is it the sum of your ... See full summary »
Sun Ra--space-age prophet, Pharaonic jester, shaman-philosopher and avant-jazz keyboardist/bandleader--land his spaceship in Oakland, having been presumed lost in space for a few years. ... See full summary »
Having only heard of Sun Ra from third-hand sources, I was interested to know more about him. This film from 1980 provides an entertaining but very superficial glimpse into his music (Which, even in the context of sloppy 70s Jazz meltdown stuff, is kind of annoying) and his odd little commune/cult of likeminded musicians and admitted disciples. I would have preferred more insights, frankly, and less music. It's not that the music was always awful - some of it is quite good - but it's less interesting than trying to figure out what makes Mr. Ra and his minions tick, what makes them devote themselves to him for years or decades at a time, when they could clearly find better-paying gigs in other bands. There's a charisma that's hinted at, but never really seen. Istead we get some brief talking-head interviews a few bandmembers, and a lot of shots of Sun rambling odd statements in front of the (Carter) White House, or in an Egyptian Museum Exhibit. Some of the stuff he says is interesting, such as "You can't have a department of Justice punishing people for doing wrong without having another department praising people for trying to do better," but if there's some kind of religious ethos or real beliefs underlying all this, we never see it. I feel a bit cheated by that. The closest we get is a couple scenes of Sun lapsing into an almost-smile-laugh thing which might mean that this is all a joke, or it might mean he's got a bit of gas. It's irritating not being able to tell which. Basically, if you can stumble across this documentary in Bealls Otlet for $2.99 like I did, it's worth a watch, otherwise, don't waste time trying to find it.
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