Melvin Van Peebles: Essential Films

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Melvin Van Peebles: Essential Films

The Story of a Three Day Pass: Ordinary Love

Melvin Van Peebles’s feature debut riffs on the French New Wave to tell a love story that portrays interracial intimacy and unflinchingly confronts the distortions of racism.

By Allyson Nadia Field

Melvin Van Peebles: Essential Films

Watermelon Man: Melvin in Hollywoodland

Melvin Van Peebles takes aim at Hollywood’s way of representing race in this blistering satire about a white man who wakes up one morning to discover that he has turned Black overnight.

By Racquel J. Gates

Melvin Van Peebles: Essential Films

Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song: “I’m Gonna Say a Black Ave Maria For You”

Eschewing the accommodationist tendencies of social-problem films of the sixties, Melvin Van Peebles’s second feature launched blaxploitation film but also stands as a challenge to the blanket presumptions about the genre that exist today.

By Michael B. Gillespie

Melvin Van Peebles: Essential Films

Don’t Play Us Cheap: The Sacredness of Saturday Night, or the Gospel According to Melvin Van Peebles

The first Black-directed movie musical of the modern film era, Melvin Van Peebles’s drama illuminates the cultural and political concerns of working-class Black people with delight and fancy.

By Lisa B. Thompson