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1930: on a sugar cane plantation in Martinique lives José, a bright mischievous 11-year-old and 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 an escape from the fields.







Directed by: Euzhan Palcy

Written by: Euzhan Palcy

Based on: Sugar Cane Alley by Joseph Zobel

Music by: Groupe Malavoi

Cinematography by: Dominique Chapuis

Edited by: Marie-Josèphe Yoyotte

Art Direction by: At Hoang

Produced by: Michel Loulergue, Alix Régis

Claude Nedjar, Jean Luc Ormières

Running time: 103 minutes

Country: France (Martinique)

Language: French with English subtitles

Film on 35 mm Fujicolor



Garry Cadenat  —  José

Darling Légitimus    M'Man Tine

Douta Seck    Old Medouze

Joby Bernabé  —  Monsieur Saint-Louis

Francisco Charles  —  Boss

Marie-Jo Descas  —  Leopold’s mother

Marie-Ange Farot  —  Madame Saint Louis

Henri Melon The teacher  —  M. Roc

Eugène Mona  —  Twelve Toes

Joël Palcy  —  Carmen

Laurent Saint-Cyr  —  Leopold





 Special screenings


2020  —  Dublin International Film Festival -  'Women Make Films' strand

2020  —  Glasgow International Film Festival -  'Women Make Films' strand

2019  —  Opening of Array/Ava DuVernay's Amanda Theater, L.A.

2019  —  TIFF - Retrospective: 'A Poet of Relations the Essential Euzhan Palcy'
2019  —  Houston Cinema Arts Festival - Centerpiece

2019  —  Locarno Film Festival - 'Black Light' retrospective

2018  —  BFI London Film Festival (4K restoration WP)

2018  —   Women, Women: 100 Female Directors, 100 Films at the Montreal                                      Cinematheque 
2018  —  Hauser & Wirth, Los Angeles - BHM by Ellen Gallagher

2017  —  Closing of 'One Way or Another: Black Women's Cinema, 1970-1991' 
                  at the BAM Cinematheque, Brooklyn.

2011  —  The Museum of Modern Art, New York

2011  —  Cannes Classics official selection

2010  —  Opening of the 3rd World Festival of Black Arts' Film Festival, Dakar 

2007  —  Bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act 1807 in the British        
                  Empire, at National Maritime Museum of Greenwich, London.


1985  —  FESPACO Audience Award -  first winning film
                 (Panafrican Film Festival of Ouagadougou)                

1985  —  Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame Award

1984  —  Houston International WordFest: Special Jury Award

1984  —  Cesar (French Oscar) for Best First Film*

1983  —  Venice Film Festival Silver Lion*

1983  —  Best Female Actor Award**

1983  —  Unicef Prize

1983  —  Signis Award


   * A first for a female director and for a black director

 ** A first for a black female actor and for a film directed by a black director





Roger Ebert

'The debut of a considerable artist'

David Robinson, The Times

'Masterpiece of Black Cinema'

Die Welt




César Award for the Best First Film . 1984


The 9th ceremony of the César Award — also known as the Night of César — rewarding the films released in 1983 , was held on March 3, 1984 at the Empire Theatre in Paris. It was chaired by Gene Kelly and broadcasted on Antenne 2 and presented by Léon Zitrone.

On that day, Euzhan Palcy made history and became the first female director,  the first black director (male or female) winner of a Cesar & the first African descent director to win an award from his or her National Academy of Cinema.


The César Award is the highest film distinction in France.
It is the French equivalent to the Oscar.

Actress Macha Meril  —



Euzhan Palcy  —

'The winner is Euzhan Palcy for "Rue Cases Nègres!".

She shines as much as the Cesar!'

'I'll try to say a few words... I want to thank on behalf of all my family and compatriotes, everyone who believed in me and made that film possible to exist. Special thanks to my actors, my crew, my producers, my country Martinique for her multi-faceted contributions and to

Mr. Joseph Zobel, author of the novel  La Rue Cases Nègres, 

for trusting me.'

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