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How to Eat Your Watermelon in White Company (and Enjoy It) (2005)

Unrated | | Documentary | 7 April 2005 (USA)
Feature-length documentary on renegade filmmaker, novelist, musician and theater impresario, Melvin Van Peebles.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Marva Allen ...
Herself
Emanuel Azenberg ...
Himself
Shelley R. Bonus ...
Herself
St. Clair Bourne ...
Himself
...
Himself (as Hershel Dwellingham)
Janine Evrad ...
Herself (as Janine Euvrard)
Gébé ...
Himself
Dick Hehmeyer ...
Newsreel Narrator (voice)
Gloria Jarecki ...
Herself
Henry Jarecki ...
Himself
Billy Jennings ...
Himself
Woodie King Jr. ...
Himself
...
Himself
Madeleine Martineau ...
Herself
Richard Milner ...
Himself
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Feature-length documentary on renegade filmmaker, novelist, musician and theater impresario, Melvin Van Peebles.

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Unrated | See all certifications »
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7 April 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Melvin Van Peebles: I zoi mou me tous lefkous  »

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An Excellent Documentary
24 April 2007 | by (Maida Vale, UK) – See all my reviews

To paraphrase the Learner and Lowe song Thank Heavens for Uncut. Because there is little or no way this excellent Documentary would have been shown in the UK without them.

If like me you only knew about the iconoclastic Melvin Van Peebles from his sons Mario's film Baadasssss!. This excellent, entertaining and at times quite funny Documentary will be a real eye opener. It's a warts and all portrait of a life that has definitely been lived to the full.

Oh and what a life, at one time or other Van Peeble's has been Airman in the US Air Force, Cable Car Operator, Film-Maker, Novelist, Broadway Musical Producer, unbelievably a Wall Street Trader and Recording Artist all in some 75 years. Renaissance man seems such an inadequate term for this most individual of men.

As I said earlier the film really is an eye opener for the casual viewer or those of us (I think there may well be many of us) who only knew of the Sweetback film. Take for instance the fact that after the success of the film he would only make one further film in the 70s and wouldn't make another film for over a decade. That he taught himself Financial Market trading and was one of the first African-American Traders on Wall Street. That he had not one but two Broadway Musicals running at the same time and the first of which gets nine Tony nominations. There is a small part of me that thinks he must have made some Faustian pact to enjoy the amount of success he's had.

The film has some real laugh out loud moments such when he recalls spraying his office with the scent of Watermelons and the reaction that this would have on White visitors. Or when someone recounts Van Peebles juggling of his various lovers.

As I said earlier this is an really enjoyable documentary about one of America's most extraordinary men. A definite must see if at a Cinema or Festival near you.


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