Sugar Cane Alley (Rue Cases Negres) (1984)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

The teenage life and adventures of young José who lives in a shanty-town on Martinique in the mid-'30s comprises the body of this well-wrought film on how to enjoy what you have. José lives with his grandmother and is well aware of the French colonial presence but they are far away from his world. He gets into mischief, learns valuable lessons on living from an old former slave, drinks too much one time, and even sets fire to one of the run-down shanties. Regardless of his pranks, José never lets up on his studies and in the end, his diligence pays off. Darling Legitmus won the "Best Actress" award at the 1983 Venice Film Festival for her role as the grandmother in this film, and Rue Case Negres won the 1983 Cesar for "Best First Film" for director Euzhan Palcy. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi
PG (adult situations/language, violence)
Art House & International , Drama
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Garry Cadenat
as José
Darling Legitimus
as M'Man Tine
Douta Seck
as Old Medouze
Joby Bernabé
as Monsieur Saint-Louis
Henri Melon
as The Teacher
Marie-Jo Descas
as La Mere de Leopold
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Sugar Cane Alley (Rue Cases Negres)

All Critics (3) | Top Critics (1)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

July 16, 2005

No excerpt available.

October 19, 2004
Boxoffice Magazine

Audience Reviews for Sugar Cane Alley (Rue Cases Negres)

(****): Thumbs Up Wonderfully directed, acted and written. Worth seeking out if you can actually find a copy since the DVD is quite rare now.


Palcy has distinguished herself for being the first black woman to direct a Hollywood movie, A Dry White Season. I thought that was a decent but unremarkable drama. This earlier work is a bit better. The storyline is somewhat been-there-done-that, and the mise en scene is nothing special, but there is an authentic quality to it. In some ways it was reminiscent of Satyajit Ray. The film's greatest asset is the strong characterization: Jose and his grandmother are people who grow on you quickly.

Martin Teller
Martin Teller

Surprised how much I liked this; it has the simplicity of a documentary, but it is an enriching story of a boy in Martinique affected by colonialism, pressures of excellence in school, and the diversity of thought and personality in which he is immersed in his home.

Shannon Nakai
Shannon Nakai

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