Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Rumorville - This Actor Just May Be in Contention to Play Apocalypse in 'X-Men: Apocalypse' Rumorville - This Actor Just May Be in Contention to Play Apocalypse in 'X-Men: Apocalypse'  Toni Morrison Breaks Down Race as a Social Construct to Stephen Colbert Toni Morrison Breaks Down Race as a Social Construct to Stephen Colbert Wow! BBC Announces That Idris Elba Will Return for a 2-Part 'Luther' Event Series in 2015 Wow! BBC Announces That Idris Elba Will Return for a 2-Part 'Luther' Event Series in 2015 Spike Lee’s Kickstarter-Funded 'Da Sweet Blood of Jesus' Finds a Distributor, Gets Release Date, Poster, Synopsis Spike Lee’s Kickstarter-Funded 'Da Sweet Blood of Jesus' Finds a Distributor, Gets Release Date, Poster, Synopsis Lupita Nyong'o Will Star in Mira Nair's 'Queen of Katwe' Film Adaptation (On Ugandan Chess Prodigy Phiona Mutesi) Lupita Nyong'o Will Star in Mira Nair's 'Queen of Katwe' Film Adaptation (On Ugandan Chess Prodigy Phiona Mutesi) Whoa! Steve McQueen & Harry Belafonte Are Teaming Up on a Paul Robeson Film. Will Be His Next Feature Whoa! Steve McQueen & Harry Belafonte Are Teaming Up on a Paul Robeson Film. Will Be His Next Feature Fox Is Developing an American Remake of 'Luther' (But Not with Idris Elba Starring) Fox Is Developing an American Remake of 'Luther' (But Not with Idris Elba Starring) Chris Rock on That Stubborn Burden of Representation Thing ("Black Fame" vs "White Fame") Chris Rock on That Stubborn Burden of Representation Thing ("Black Fame" vs "White Fame") White Women in LA Will Be Empowered by Black Women in New Series 'Bye Felicia!' (Watch Clip) White Women in LA Will Be Empowered by Black Women in New Series 'Bye Felicia!' (Watch Clip) Did Anyone Actually Like Lifetime's Aaliyah Movie? Also, Producer Wendy Williams Takes on Backlash Did Anyone Actually Like Lifetime's Aaliyah Movie? Also, Producer Wendy Williams Takes on Backlash Review: Refreshingly Diverse 'Big Hero 6' Will Make Kids and Science Lovers of all Ages Giddy Review: Refreshingly Diverse 'Big Hero 6' Will Make Kids and Science Lovers of all Ages Giddy Weekend B.O. Nov.14-16 (Why Didn’t 'Beyond the Lights' Light Up at the Box Office?) Weekend B.O. Nov.14-16 (Why Didn’t 'Beyond the Lights' Light Up at the Box Office?) Review: Five Things Missing from 'Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B' Review: Five Things Missing from 'Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B' White People Don't Get It Because They Never Had to White People Don't Get It Because They Never Had to Lifetime Releases First FULL Trailer for 'Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B' (Premieres Saturday, 11/15) Lifetime Releases First FULL Trailer for 'Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B' (Premieres Saturday, 11/15) Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Revisit 'The Story Of A Three-Day Pass' On Melvin Van Peebles' 80th Birthday (His 1st Feature)

Shadow and Act By Malcolm Woodard | Shadow and Act August 21, 2012 at 7:31PM

If I may toss in my own little piece of acknowledgement of Melvin Van Peebles' 80th birthday today (see Tambay's post earlier today HERE).
34
3-day pass

If I may toss in my own little piece of acknowledgement of Melvin Van Peebles' 80th birthday today (see Tambay's post earlier today HERE).

For those who think that Melvin Van Peebles didn't exist before Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, he made 2 feature films before that seminal work.

This is one of them - an exploration of contrasting European and American attitudes towards race, in 1698's The Story of a Three Day Pass.

Taking place in the 60’s, the film centers on an African American soldier stationed in Europe. His Captain gives him a promotion and a three-day pass to take the weekend off, because he thinks he’s such an exceptional black man. And over the course of the 3 days, Turner, the film's protagonist, meets a white French woman, leading to a love affair between the two. However, racial prejudice and other complications, brings the affait to a halt.

Harry Baird and Nicole Berger star.

What is considered Van Peebles' Nouvelle Vague (New Wave) film, it was based on a novel he wrote in French, La Permission. It was shot in 36 days on a budget of $200,000.

The use of fantasy sequences, jump cuts, freeze frames, photo-montage, and other experimental techniques, give the film an surreal/dream-like quality. 

It was Van Peebles' very first feature film, and, it was also the first feature-length film (on record) directed by an African American since Oscar Micheaux's last film, 1948's The Betrayal. So, from 1948 to 1967 (when Three-Day Pass was shot), a 21-year gap, there wasn't a single feature-length, fictional scripted narrative film (on record) with an African American at the helm.

If anyone knows and can prove otherwise, please do so.

I know that William Greaves was working prior to 1968, but he only produced documentaries. 

Before Van Peebles made Three-Day Pass, it's said that he couldn't get work in the film industry in the USA, so, like many other African American artists did in those days, he went to Europe (France, specifically), and directed his first feature (aka The Story Of A Three-Day Pass) in France, with French money.

Cue critical acclaim (both abroad and in the USA) after it was selected for the 1967 San Francisco Film Festival organized by Black film critic Albert Johnson, and eventually Van Peebles landed a job in Hollywood, and then he made his first and only studio film in 1970, Watermelon Man

Here's the trailer for The Story Of A Three-Day Pass (it's incomplete, but there's enough there to give you some idea of what it's like). It's on DVD:

This article is related to: Melvin Van Peebles


Shadow & ActNewsletter