A tale of innocence abroad, with racial overtones. Turner is a Black American, stationed at an air base in France. His captain thinks Turner’s a good Negro, obedient, cheerful, and frightened, so he gives him a promotion and a three-day pass. On the first night, at a club, he meets Miriam, a White Parisian shop clerk. They dance, talk, and fantasize about each other. He’s amazed when she agrees to spend the weekend with him at a Normandy beach hotel; in fact, he guesses she’s a prostitute. She’s not, they go; it’s off season, they have their pick of rooms, and romance ensues. Then, racial misunderstanding and real prejudice complicate the weekend and its aftermath. —IMDb
Van Peebles began writing about his experiences as a cable car driver. What evolved from an initially small article and a series of photographs was Van Peebles’ first book, The Big Heart.
One day, a passenger suggested that Van Peebles should become a filmmaker. He shot his first short film, Pickup Men for Herrick, in 1957. He made two more short films during the same period. According to Van Peebles, “I thought they were features. Each one turned out to be eleven minutes long. I was trying to do features. I knew nothing.” As Van Peebles learned more about the filmmaking process, he found out that “I could make a feature for five hundred dollars. That was the cost of ninety minutes of film. I didn’t know a thing about shooting a film sixteen to one or ten to one or none of that shit. Then I forgot you had to develop film. And I didn’t know you needed a work print. All I can say is that after I did one thing he would say, ‘Well, aren’t you gonna put sound on it?’ and I would go… read more
On one hand this film has all the technical experimentation which one associates with the new wave like the jump cuts, POV's, the split image mirror shots, the audio insertions etc and on the other there are also long scenes without dialogues and contemplative moments with a romantic center piece that actually works. A strange but impressive concoction of the new and the classic that I found very endearing.
Also: Ruiz in Berkeley, the EU in Chicago and listening to Nina Menkes and Slavoj Žižek.