The Brother from Another Planet. 1984. USA. Written and directed by John Sayles. With Joe Morton, Daryl Edwards, David Strathairn. 35mm preservation print from UCLA Film & Television Archive; courtesy of IFC Films. 108 min.
Writer-director John Sayles plays with gentle irony on conventions of the American slave narrative in chronicling the adventures of “The Brother,” a mute alien who comes to Harlem by way of Ellis Island (and outer space). The Brother’s seriocomic encounters with barflies and junkies, racist cops and street preachers—as well as ordinary folks just trying to get by—offer a timeless tale of two cities, segregated as always by race and class yet pulsating with immigrant life.