vendredi, février 06, 2009

This is the 9th edition of a film festival programmed by Olivier Pierre in Saint-Denis, near Paris. We met him in Marseille, 15 years ago, in a remote cinema called L'Alhambra, 10 kilometers from downtown Marseille. Olivier came by bus without any chance to go back to the city, the last bus being early. When he was in my car, a dark blue Renault 4 TL that was eventually burned out in Marseille, I thought that this guy was a real cinema lover, taking risks for seeing a movie. I'm happy to see that he has become such a wonderful professional; and his festival theme tombe à pic with the Obama election.

We went to see Melvin Van Peebles's Sweet Sweetback's baadasssss song (1971) at the Festival opening. Everybody knows that film, but I missed it so many times. It's brilliance and success launched the blaxploitation. I was surprised to hear Melvin Van Peebles speaking in french and talking about his parisian years, before the movie. Coming back home, I checked the INA archives (french television). There was about 10 entries with Melvin Van Peebles in the sixties. His first appearance on the french TV was in 1964 as a writer! He published 4 books in France, one with illustrations by Roland Topor. He was also collaborating with Hara Kiri, the incredible anarcho-sexy magazine run by Professeur Choron, a magazine that I red as a kid (check the incredible covers here). Before going back to America, Melvin even shot a feature film in France, La Permission ("Story of a 3 days pass", 1967), a love story between a white french girl and a black man. Unfortunately, the actress, Nicole Berger, died right after the shooting in a car accident.