Chameleon Street

Actor/director Wendell B. Harris Jr. began his career by winning the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 1990. His opera prima tells the incredible true story of William Douglas Street Jr., a highly cunning con artist who managed to pass himself off as a Yale student, perform operations as a surgeon, work at the Times and practice law before being caught by the police.

 

The film feeds on the comedy and irony that comes from the character played by Wendell B. Harris Jr. himself and the surreal situations in which he finds himself. However, comedy is used as a tool to tackle all the tortuous challenges and complications that an African American can face in the US. The film itself mirrors the future that awaited Harris who, despite his huge talent and the awards he won, was unable to get the film widely distributed and pursue his own career.

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Credits

Year: 1990
Runtime: 94′
Country: USA
Direction: Wendell B. Harris Jr.
Screenplay: Wendell B. Harris Jr.
Cast: Wendell B. Harris Jr., Angela Leslie, Amina Fakir, Paula McGee, Marti Bowling, Anita Gordon.
Cinematography: Daniel S. Noga
Genre: Drama
Subtitles: Ana Pérez Requejo
Contact: Arbelos Films

Wins & nominations

1990: Sundance Film Festival – Grand Jury Prize