Directed by Melvin Van Peebles
The Story of a Three Day Pass
Directed by Melvin Van Peebles • 1967 • United States
Starring Harry Baird, Nicole Berger, Hal Brav
Melvin Van Peebles’s edgy, angsty, romantic first feature could never have been made in America. Unable to break into segregated Hollywood, Van Peebles decamped to France, taught himself the language, and wrote a number of books in French, one of which, “La permission,” would become the stylistically innovative THE STORY OF A THREE DAY PASS. Turner (Harry Baird), an African American soldier stationed in France, is granted a promotion and a three-day leave from base by his casually racist commanding officer and heads to Paris, where he finds whirlwind romance with a white woman (Nicole Berger)—but what happens to their love when his furlough is over? Channeling the brash exuberance of the French New Wave, Van Peebles creates an exploration of the psychology of an interracial relationship as well as a commentary on France’s contradictory attitudes about race that is playful, sarcastic, and stingingly subversive by turns, and that laid the foundation for the scorched-earth cinematic revolution he would let loose just a few years later.
Up Next in Directed by Melvin Van Peebles
Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song
Directed by Melvin Van Peebles • 1971 • United States
Starring Melvin Van Peebles, Simon Chuckster, Hubert Scales
A landmark of Black and American independent cinema that would send shock waves through the culture, SWEET SWEETBACK’S BAADASSSSS SONG was Melvin Van Peebles’s second feature film, a...
Don’t Play Us Cheap
Directed by Melvin Van Peebles • 1972 • United States
Starring Joe Keyes Jr., Rhetta Hughes, Avon Long
Melvin Van Peebles’s film version of his own Tony Award–nominated Broadway musical is a bold blend of theater and nervy, New Wave–inflected cinematic invention. A cast of Black stage and screen...