Between the United States and France, Melvin Van Peebles, once an unrepentant jogger, has been going back and forth at his own pace since the 1960s. A contributor to Harakiri magazine and editor of Le Figaro, he made his first film in France and in 1968 (!) his first feature film La Permission.
Back to the United States, he made the trip to inaugurate the first Festival des 3 Continents in 1979, where he was president of the jury for an edition that was unprecedent at the time, since it was an original encounter with the European public for many Afro-American filmmakers. The director of the mythical, raging and caustic Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss song regularly came back to visit the 3 Continents, to see films, to talk about cinema, to perform in concert, even showing off his hats and a smile that the public welcomed each time.
Melvin Van Peebles passed away on September 21, 2021 in New York. Melvil, The Big Heart (the title of his first novel) was one of us. He will remain so.