October 17, 2021

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Melvin Van Peebles, 'Godfather of Black Cinema', has died

Melvin Van Peebles, ‘Godfather of Black Cinema’, has died

American director Melvin Van Peebles, “Godfather of Black Cinema,” has died at the age of 89. Although initially ignored by Hollywood as an independent black director, the film industry was more than happy to jump into this type of exploitation when it seemed to open up a new market.

His son, actor Mario Van Peebles, wrote in the obituary: “My dad knew that black acting matters. If one picture is worth a thousand words, what’s a movie worth?” “You don’t get true freedom by imitating the colonizer. You have to be an eye on the strength, beauty, and solidarity of all people.”

Van Peebles tried to find work as a writer and director in Hollywood in the 1950s, but was only able to work as a studio elevator boy. Disappointed, he went to Europe, where he played in the theater in Holland and worked on his film career in France.

nightmare

With more experience, in Hollywood, he had the opportunity watermelon man To direct, a satire about a white man who wakes up black one day. The fitted ending, where the protagonist wakes up from a bad dream, brings down Van Peebles. “It’s not a nightmare to be black.”

His next movie was more outspoken, Baadasssss Sweetback’s Song, in which Van Peebles took over the text, direction, and leadership role. It’s the story of a black neighborhood boy who is innocently arrested and forced to flee when he hits the officers. Van Peebles took advantage of the fact that the film’s rating was 18+: “X . rating, by a white jury,” the film’s poster wrote.

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It is clear from the title that Van Peebles opts for a clear black perspective. “Of course I had it Inexhaustible Sweetback song But I wanted the audience to know that this was just for them. So it became ba-ad asssss, as they really say.”