Opens May 18, 2018
A work of formidable wit, insight and imagination, Wendell B. Harris' Chameleon Street explores the mind-boggling real life of William Douglas Street, Jr. (Harris), an ingenious con artist from Detroit who dropped out of high school before managing to successfully and extensively impersonate a wide variety of people, from a Time reporter to a Yale grad student to an athlete to a lawyer and even a surgeon. Inspired by his story, Harris fashions a complex, bracing look at our society and the expectations, hurdles and restrictions it places on Street. In 1990, Chameleon Street won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, beating out films such as Metropolitan, House Party and The Unbelievable Truth. Ragtag is thrilled to present a restored copy of this grossly overlooked, out-of-print classic, inexplicably the only film yet directed by Harris.
"Gloriously strange. A lost masterpiece of black American cinema. A complex examination of the interplay of race, identity and economics as refracted through its ambiguous subject. It's also hilariously funny in places, thanks to Juilliard graduate Harris's exquisite comic timing and gift for delivering his self-penned screenplay's near- incessant flood of dextrous wordplay." (Ashley Clark, Sight & Sound)