Robert Mugge's "A Joyful Noise" is a great film that anyone who is interested in Sun Ra should buy immediately. It captures the Arkestra in a variety of environments, including at their communal home in Philadelphia, in concert at various locations, and even on a rooftop. The film also features excellent interviews with many members of the group, including the legendary John Gilmore, Danny Thompson, and, of course, the genius Mr. Ra himself. What is particularly wonderful about this film is that it provides various examples of their music and the philosophical context in which the group operated. This video is absolutely essential. This is also a good film to show to the small children in your family, because it will allow their ears to become accustomed to the puissant possibilities of sound.
With the film in mind, let's get a couple things straight about Sun Ra. First, his tendency to embark on long orations that invoked ancient Egypt and outer space were extremely sincere. It was not a joke or a ploy to attract attention. Secondly, Sun Ra and his associates gave their entire lives to create music that was truly revolutionary in its ability to radically reform the sonic conventions with which most of us are familiar. His desire to essentially choose a life of near poverty in order to create innovative jazz music is something that, in my opinion, illustrates how deadly serious he was about his music.
If there is any problem with the film, it is that most of the music segments are short and incomplete. Of course, the director clearly was trying to assemble a documentary, not a concert film, so this is understandable.