1. Program
  2. /
  3. Film Series
  4. /
  5. -TOPIAS
  6. /
  7. Watermelon Man

Watermelon Man

Chosen by Anand Angarag
Melvin Van Peebles, USA 1970, 98 Min., OV with English subs

In Watermelon Man, Melvin Van Peebles plays with stereotypes to offer a witty and sarcastic twist on popular entertainment cinema of the era. This ambitious Kafkaesque comedy centers on Jeff Gerber (Godfrey Cambridge) a white middle class family man who wakes up one day to see a black man staring back at him in the bathroom mirror. As in classical tragedy, a chorus comments on the unfolding events, as the once smugly bigoted Jeff is forced to confront the casual hypocrisy of white society. Van Peebles’s films - particularly the cult classic Sweet Sweetbacks Badasssss Song (1971) - are widely celebrated today for their distinctive and influential soundtracks, which have been sampled repeatedly across the decades by performers such as Eric B. & Rakim, Madlib and MF Doom. (AA)

Anand Angarag is currently a student at the UdK (University of the Arts Berlin) studying for a Masters in Art in Context, where he is exploring archetypal narratives in film education alongside his wider artistic and theoretical practice. Anand also works as a projectionist at Sinema Transtopia.