Sugar Cane Alley, the seminal work of Martinique born director Euzhan Palcy, will screen on Saturday May 14th as part of this year’s official Cannes Classics selection.
The 1983 film won the Cesar (French Academy Award) for best first film and more than 17 international awards including the Silver Lion and the best actress awards (Darling Légitimus, the actress, was 76 years old at the time) at Venice International Film Festival and become one of the most internationally distributed French films of the year.
In French with Engish subtitles, the film is set in 1930 on a sugar cane plantation in Martinique (FWI), where José, a bright, mischievous 11-year-old, lives with his grandmother, a tough, wise woman determined to save him from the hard life she has known. When Jose wins a scholarship, she is ready to sacrifice everything for his chance at an education and a escape from the fields.
Before the screening of the film, a special tribute, with French Minister of Culture, Mr. Frédéric Mitterrand, in attendance, will be made to Palcy, after which she will also present a short Senegalese film wich she produced called Moly, about a boy who sits for his final exam and earns top honors, but whose joy of success is dampened by the death of his father. While his resume attracts employers, they reject him as soon as they see him on crutches.The 19 minute film is in Wolof with English subtitles.
For those of you not able to make Cannes but who’ll be in New York, from May 18 – May 30, the first comprehensive US retrospective of Palcy’s work, “Filmmaker in Focus: Euzhan Palcy” will take place at MoMA.