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"Sugar Cane Alley" presented by French Film Director Euzhan Palcy

Euzhan Palcy, film director, writer and producer from Martinique, French West Indies, will be present on November 16 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston to present the screening of her 1983 drama/history film Sugar Cane Alley (in French: Rue Cases-Nègres), with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.

The screening is part of the 2019 Houston Cinema Arts Festival.

Sugar Cane Alley begins with sepia-toned postcards views of old Martinique, as if to emphasize that the film which follows is going to take us far beyond nostalgic distance and exotic local color. An audience pleasure as well as an adventurous work of cinema, Euzhan Palcy's Sugar Cane Alley established her as a major new filmmaking talent. Set in Martinique in 1931, the film paints a rich impasto of native life under French colonial rule, filtered through the coming-of-age of a bright, sweetly, opportunistic black boy learning to reconcile the value of his shanty-town roots with the educational opportunities that beckon him to the big city. Although Palcy displays a masterful command of storytelling, atmosphere, comedy, and characterization, this rainbow of a movie is anything but sedate and old-fashioned: keyed on kinetic, offbeat cutting rhythms that refract the graceful arc of the action into pointillist flurries of movement, textures and color, it achieves a blend of artful casualness, unsentimental humanism, and clear- eyed social consciousness whose like has perhaps not been seen since the early masterpiece of Jean Renoir and Vittorio De Sica. Adapted from Joseph Zobel's 1950 novel La Rue Cases-Nègres.

About director Euzhan Palcy

When she directed Sugar Cane Alley in 1983, Euzhan Palcy put the French Caribbean on the cinematography map, winning The Silver Lion, Best Actress Award at the Venice International Film Festival and a Cesar (French Oscar), breaking the directorial glass ceiling in French cinema. She continued her journey as a film trailblazer in 1989 with A Dry White Season, a bracing drama made at the height of apartheid and in so doing became the first black female director produced by a Hollywood studio, MGM/ UA. Among her other films is the colorful musical fantasy Simeon.