The sweet-natured and honest Brother looks like an ordinary African American man, distinguished only by his being mute and – although other characters in the film never see them – his feet each have three large toes. Upon arrival in Ellis Island, the Brother displays psychic powers, being able to hear the experiences of the immigrants that came before him. The Brother also has telekinetic powers but, unable to speak, he struggles to express himself and adjust to his new surroundings, including a stint in the Job Corps at a video arcade in Manhattan.
He is chased by two white Men in Black (David Strathairn and director Sayles himself); Sayles’s twist on the Men in Black concept is that instead of government agents trying to cover up alien activity, Sayles’s Men in Black are also aliens, out to re-capture “The Brother” and other escaped slaves and bring them back to their home planet.
The Brother from Another Planet is a 1984 science fiction film written, directed and edited by John Sayles. It stars Joe Morton as “The Brother”, an alien and escaped slave who, while fleeing “Another Planet”, has crash-landed and hides in Harlem.
The Brother from Another Planet (1984)
Directed by: John Sayles
Starring: Joe Morton, Daryl Edwards, Rosanna Carter, Ray Ramirez, Yves Rene, Steve James, Peter Richardson, Olga Merediz, Minnie Gentry
Screenplay by: John Sayles
Production Design by: Nora Chavooshian
Cinematography by: Ernest R. Dickerson
Film Editing by: John Sayles
Costume Design by: Karen Perry
Art Direction by: Stephen J. Lineweaver
Music by: Martin Brody, Mason Daring
Distributed by: Cinecom Pictures
Release Date: September 7, 1984