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In Paris, retrospective Euzhan Palcy, the Martinican director of the unforgettable “Rue Cases-Nègres

In Paris, retrospective Euzhan Palcy, the Martinican director of the unforgettable “Rue Cases-Nègres

From November 8 to 19, the Center Pompidou celebrates the cinema of Euzhan Palcy. Around ten fiction films and documentaries by the Martinican director, honorary Oscar in 2022, will be presented to the public.

She is a gifted cinematographer to whom the Center Pompidou is paying tribute from November 8 to 19. Euzhan Palcy has signed around ten films and documentaries that the Center presents to the public in his presence, accompanied by various personalities such as Harry Roselmack, Audrey Pulvar or Rokhaya Diallo.

The director, who grew up in Gros-Morne in Martinique, had a taste for stories and images very early on. Its formation ? It dates back to his adolescence in Martinique. She watches a lot of films by Fritz Lang, Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock and François Truffaut. Equipped with a solid cinematographic culture, after the baccalaureate, she left Martinique for Paris where she began her studies at the Sorbonne before entering the prestigious Louis-Lumière school.  

The novel by Joseph Zobel

Euzhan Palcy is driven by a dream: to adapt Rue Cases-Nègres , the novel by Joseph Zobel, for the cinema. She received this book from her mother. He rocked his childhood. After her studies, she quickly took on this project. Rue Cases-Nègres recounts the childhood of José, a brilliant student pushed to study by his grandmother M’man Tine (played by Darling Légitimus, remarkable in this role) and by his teacher. Mom Tine refuses to let her grandson go to work and exhaust himself for nothing in the cane fields. The action takes place in Martinique in the 1930s. Driven by her project, helped by François Truffaut, Euzhan Palcy creates a moving, original and innovative film. Rue Cases-Nègres received the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival and the César for best first work in 1984.

Thanks to this success, Euzhan Palcy is noticed. He was offered to come and work in the United States. She accepted and directed A Dry White Season (1989) with Donald Sutherland, Zakes Mokae, Susan Sarandon, Marlon Brando. She is the first woman to direct the legendary American actor. Adapted from a novel by André Brink, A White and Dry Season tells the story of an Afrikaner professor who leads a peaceful life in South Africa until the day his black gardener Gordon and his son are arrested, tortured and then killed under the Apartheid regime. 

For his third fiction film, Siméon (1992), Euzhan Palcy returned to Martinique. In this fantastic and musical feature film, she tells the story of an old music teacher, Siméon . His disciple, Isidore (played by Jacob Desvarieux ), a professional guitarist and mechanic, shares with him the dream of creating a new West Indian music that becomes as universally popular as Jazz or Reggae. The film brings together a whole host of West Indian talents including Jean-Claude Duverger, Jacob Desvarieux, Jean-Jacques-Martial, Jocelyne Béroard , Albert Lirvat, Gerty Dambury, Jean-Claude Naimro , Jean-Philippe Marthély, Alain Jean-Marie , Patrick Saint -Eloi, Lisette Malidor and Pascal Légitimus . As for Rue Cases-Nègres , Euzhan Palcy called on editor Marie-Joseph Yoyotte who won three Césars during her career.

Fiction films and documentaries

After Siméon , three other films followed, Le Combat de Ruby Bridges (1998), The Killing Yard (2001), then Les Mariées de L’Isle Bourbon (2007) with William Nadylam , all filmed for television. The Fight of Rudy Bridge traces the struggle of a child and her mother in New Orleans in the 1960s to integrate a school attended exclusively by whites. In Les Mariés de l’isle Bourbon , Euzhan Palcy tells the story of the colonization of Reunion Island.

See Also

The Martinican director also chose to make a documentary by giving voice to Aimé Césaire (1994). Based on interviews with the famous Martinican poet and thinker, the film in three parts – L’Île Veilleuse ,  Au rendez-vous de la conquest ,  La force de voir tomorrow – offers a dense and abundant walk through the life of Aimé Césaire, from his childhood memories to political battles.

Euzhan Palcy also highlighted in Parcours de dissidents (2005) these men and women from Martinique and Guadeloupe who chose to leave their islands between 1940 and 1943 to join, via Dominica and Saint Lucia, the Free French Forces de Gaulle, then called ” General Micro”.

All these films and documentaries can be seen at the Pompidou Center in Paris. The director will also offer a master class on Sunday November 12. The program for this very complete retrospective can be consulted below:


  • Wednesday November 8, 8 p.m. I Opening session of the retrospective with the screening of  Rue Cases-Nègres  (1983, 103 minutes), in the presence of Euzhan Palcy  find out more
  • Thursday, November 9, 8 p.m. I Screening of A White and Dry Season  (1989, 106 minutes), in the presence of Euzhan Palcy  and the journalist and politician  Audrey Pulvar  find out more
  • Saturday, November 11, 4 p.m. I Screening of  Combat by Ruby Bridges  (1998, 96 minutes), preceded by  How are the children? / Hassane  (1990, 11 minutes), in the presence of Euzhan Palcy  and the filmmaker  Maïmouna Doucouré  find out more
  • Sunday November 12, 5 p.m. I Masterclass by Euzhan Palcy  – free entry subject to availability
  • Sunday November 12, 8 p.m. I Screening of  Siméon  (1992, 115 minutes), in the presence of Euzhan Palcy  and the singer  Meryl  find out more
  • Monday November 13, 8 p.m. I Screening of  Parcours de dissidents  (2005, 88 minutes), in the presence of Euzhan Palcy  and journalist  Harry Roselmack  find out more
  • Wednesday, November 15, 8 p.m. I Screening of Aimé  Césaire, une voix pour l’Histoire  (1994, 3×52 minutes), presented by  Rokhaya Diallo , as part of the Ideal Cinemathèque of the Suburbs of the World, a project initiated by filmmaker  Alice Diop  in know more
  • Thursday, November 16, 7 p.m. I Screening of  Married of Isle Bourbon  (2007, 180 minutes)  find out more
  • Friday November 17, 8 p.m. I Screening of  Siméon  (1992, 115 minutes), in the presence of Euzhan Palcy  and the singer  Meryl  find out more
  • Saturday November 18 4 p.m. I Screening of Aimé Césaire, a voice for History  (1994, 3×52 minutes)  find out more
  • Saturday November 18, 8 p.m. I Screening of  Rue Cases-Nègres  (1983, 103 minutes), presented by  Emmanuel Burdeau  find out more
  • Sunday, November 19, 3 p.m. I Screening of  Combat by Ruby Bridges  (1998, 96 minutes), preceded by  How are the children? / Hassane  (1990, 11 minutes)  find out more
  • Sunday, November 19, 6 p.m. I Screening of A White and Dry Season  (1989, 106 minutes)  find out more

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