Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Trailer: UP Original Movie 'My Other Mother' (Lynn Whitfield, Essence Atkins, Jasmine Guy) Debuts 9/21 Trailer: UP Original Movie 'My Other Mother' (Lynn Whitfield, Essence Atkins, Jasmine Guy) Debuts 9/21 Wendy Williams is Crushing the Competition in the Ratings, as Queen Latifah's Show Struggles In Last Place Wendy Williams is Crushing the Competition in the Ratings, as Queen Latifah's Show Struggles In Last Place The Cast of 'A Different World' 20 Years Later - 'Oprah: Where Are They Now?' The Cast of 'A Different World' 20 Years Later - 'Oprah: Where Are They Now?' Sundance Institute Selects 10 Writers for Inaugural Episodic Story Lab Sundance Institute Selects 10 Writers for Inaugural Episodic Story Lab Lamman Rucker, DB Woodside, Billy Dee Williams, Christian Keyes Lead 'Man in 3B' (Based on Carl Weber Bestseller) Lamman Rucker, DB Woodside, Billy Dee Williams, Christian Keyes Lead 'Man in 3B' (Based on Carl Weber Bestseller) Exclusive: Zoë Kravitz, Keith Stanfield, Kimberly Elise, A$AP Rocky Board Rick Famuyiwa's 'Dope' Exclusive: Zoë Kravitz, Keith Stanfield, Kimberly Elise, A$AP Rocky Board Rick Famuyiwa's 'Dope' Tribeca Film Announces 'Nas: Time is Illmatic' One Night Only October 2 National Screenings Tribeca Film Announces 'Nas: Time is Illmatic' One Night Only October 2 National Screenings The Complete ‘Extant’ Series w/Halle Berry Coming Out On Blu-Ray DVD in Dec. The Complete ‘Extant’ Series w/Halle Berry Coming Out On Blu-Ray DVD in Dec. 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Premieres on HBO Tonight (Trailer) 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Premieres on HBO Tonight (Trailer) Producer Charles Belk and Actress Daniele Watts Apparently "Fit the Description" (Just Another Day in the Neighborhood) Producer Charles Belk and Actress Daniele Watts Apparently "Fit the Description" (Just Another Day in the Neighborhood) What’s the Big Secret That Got Those ‘No Good Deed’ Screenings Canceled? What’s the Big Secret That Got Those ‘No Good Deed’ Screenings Canceled? 'Drumline: A New Beat' (Sequel to the 2002 Film) Gets a Premiere Date + New Trailer (Watch It) 'Drumline: A New Beat' (Sequel to the 2002 Film) Gets a Premiere Date + New Trailer (Watch It) 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Coming to HBO (Trailer) 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Coming to HBO (Trailer) Watch First Trailer for Tyler Perry's New OWN TV Drama 'If Loving You Is Wrong' Watch First Trailer for Tyler Perry's New OWN TV Drama 'If Loving You Is Wrong' OWN Announces Cast for New Drama Series 'If Loving You is Wrong' From Tyler Perry OWN Announces Cast for New Drama Series 'If Loving You is Wrong' From Tyler Perry Michael Ealy, Sanaa Lathan, Morris Chestnut Eyeing Leads In Revenge Thriller 'The Perfect Guy' Michael Ealy, Sanaa Lathan, Morris Chestnut Eyeing Leads In Revenge Thriller 'The Perfect Guy' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' 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