NO IDENTITY CRISIS: A Father and Son's Own Story of Working Together by Melvin & Mario Van Peebles Van Peebles

NO IDENTITY CRISIS: A Father and Son's Own Story of Working Together

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An amusing chronicle of the putting together of the film Identity Crisis, a comedy/fantasy/adventure flick written by Mario Van Peebles and starring Mario and his dad, Melvin. Using an oral-history format, the book contains fresh, often sassy interviews with both father (here called ""Block"") and son (dubbed ""Chip""), as well as with friends and business associates involved in the project. If there is a vaguely self-congratulatory air to many of these interviews, there is also a sense of growing respect between the Van Peebles duo that adds needed depth to the narrative. Insights into such matters as Film financing and shaping material to meet audience demands are provided along the way. Some of the most entertaining passages are offered by the incidental characters in the story--by costume designer Bernard Johnson, for example, who describes one of his creations as being ""that godawful color of lavender that you have to have courage or be dead to wear."" There's also a hilarious description of an actor's audition in which the elder Van Peebles absolutely refuses to give the befuddled thespian the slightest indication of what role he's trying out for. At first, the arrangement of the interviews is somewhat offputting as the reader must flip back and forth to discover just who is speaking, but eventually the voices become familiar and all is well. But the narrative also feels padded. Do we really need the complete strip board of the film, including 193 individual shots? Still, all in all, a sometimes moving, often irreverent, frequently very funny account.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1990
Publisher: Simon & Schuster