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.
This episode of the French television show “Pour le plaisir” features interviews with director Melvin Van Peebles and actors Harry Baird and Nicole Berger, conducted on the set of THE STORY OF A THREE DAY PASS. Originally aired on February 1, 1968, it was directed by Peter Kassovitz.
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.