Euzhan Palcy was the first women of colour to director a studio movie (A Dry White Season, 1989), a groundbreaking body of directorial work becoming a trailblazer for female filmmakers.
August 2018 marked the 35th anniversary of Euzhan Palcy’s Sugar Cane Alley. It was awarded the Silver Lion for Best First Film at the 40th Venice Film Festival. This debut earned lead actress Darling Légitimus Volpi Cup for Best Actress – both were first time achievements for both a black director and actor at the prestigious festival.
The film that has undeniably put Martinique on the world cinema map, launching Palcy as an influential filmmaker, has now been given a 4K digital restoration by Éclair and will premiere at the 62nd BFI London Film Festival, in LOndon as part of the Treasures Strand. The restored Sugar Cane Alley will screen on Friday October 19 at the BFI in an event attended by Palcy, 60, and Joseph Zobel’s daughter Jenny Zobel.
Synopsis: 1930: on a sugar cane plantation in Martinique lives José (Garry Cadenat), a bright mischievous 11-year-old and his grandmother (Darling Légitimus), an illiterate yet tough and 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 an escape from the fields
The film went on to, win 17 awards internationally. The ground breaking Euzhan Palcy continues to inspire modern black female filmmakers such as Amma Asante, Ava DuVernay and Dee Rees, the latter recalling as a child watching Sugar Cane Alley over and over again with her mother. In 2011, the Cannes Film Festival honoured Euzhan Palcy by inducting Sugar Cane Alley in the Cannes Classics and mostly recently Sugar Cane Alley was chosen to open the Le Cinémathèque Québécoise’s Women, “Women: 100 Female Directors, 100 Films” retrospective series.
The 62nd BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express takes place from Wednesday 10 October-Sunday 21 October 2018.
Public booking opens 10.00am, 13 September. Telephone Bookings: 020 7928 3232 between 10:00 – 20:30. Online: www.bfi.org.uk/lff