The Plastic Dome of Norma Jean | Chicago Reader

The Plastic Dome of Norma Jean

A genuine oddity, this 1966 independent feature is a compelling (if not always coherent) mix of magic realism, southern gothic, and rock ’n’ roll musical. A clairvoyant young woman and her boyfriend buy a large plastic tent with the aim of creating a semi-outdoor music venue in their small Missouri town. A rock band magically appears on the site, and soon after, the lead singer persuades the woman to start telling people’s fortunes in between musical performances. The act becomes a sensation, but the heroine doesn’t take well to stardom; eventually she flees from the spotlight and seeks refuge in the local junkyard. Juleen Compton, a veteran of the New York theater scene, directed her own script, never letting on as to what all of this might mean. Yet the film’s opacity may be its greatest asset—watching it is a bit like peering into someone else’s dream.

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