Director, writer, composer, actor, and one-man creative revolutionary Melvin Van Peebles jolted American independent cinema to new life with his explosive stylistic energy and unfiltered expression of Black consciousness. Though he undeniably altered the course of film history with the anarchic SWEET SWEETBACK’S BAADASSSSS SONG, that pop-culture bombshell is just one piece of a remarkably varied career that also encompassed forays into European art cinema (THE STORY OF A THREE DAY PASS), mainstream Hollywood comedy (WATERMELON MAN), and Broadway musicals (DON’T PLAY US CHEAP). Each facet of Van Peebles’s renegade genius is on display in this tribute to a transformative artist whose caustic social observation, radical formal innovation, and uncompromising vision established a new cinematic model for Black creative independence.
How to Eat Your Watermelon in White Company (and Enjoy It)
Directed by Joe Angio • 2005 • United States
Starring Marva Allen, Emanuel Azenberg, Spike Lee
This 2005 documentary, directed by Joe Angio, traces Melvin Van Peebles’s filmmaking career from his feature directorial debut in France through his foray into the Hollywood mainstream to his revolutio...
Melvin Van Peebles on THE STORY OF A THREE DAY PASS
This August 14, 1968, episode of the television program “Black Journal” features an interview with director Melvin Van Peebles, who was promoting the U.S. release of his first feature film, THE STORY OF A THREE DAY PASS.