"God" of African-American cinema dies at 89

“Deus” do cinema afro-americano morre aos 89 anos

The multifaceted "Godfather" of African-American cinema, Melvin Van Peebles, died on Tuesday (21) at the age of 89 in New York City. Peebles was an actor, director, screenwriter, playwright, novelist, and composer who opened the door to a new era of African-American filmmaking around the 1970s.

The African-American film icon was known for directing such classics as Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song - which will be screened this week at the New York Film Festival for its 50th anniversary - "The Story of a Three-Day Pass," "Watermelon Man," and "Don't Play Us Cheap."

The director and writer influenced a whole generation of African-American filmmakers, including Spike Lee and John Singleton.

The Criterion Collection, which distributed many of his films, said that "Peeble has left an indelible mark on the international cultural landscape through his films, novels, plays and music. These works marked an unparalleled career distinguished by creation, boundless curiosity, and spiritual empathy.

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