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Based on a semi-autobiographical novel written by Josef Zobel, this is a wonderful, heart-warming movie set in Martinique in the early thirties. We see the African population working in the cane fields are no longer slaves. But the white masters of a generation ago have now become their bosses, and whilst no longer entitled to beat them are still paying them wages that keep them in poverty in their village 'shacks'. Our young protagonist's Grandmother knows that only a college education in the capital will save her bright boy from a future in the cane fields. That there are so few other period pieces set in the Caribbean of any quality makes this one even more unmissable.
This film really captures the essence of the sugar cane culture in Martinique in the 1930s.
Direct and moving coming-of-age tale in 1930s Martinique, as an intelligent young boy struggles with issues of class and race.
(****): Thumbs Up
Wonderfully directed, acted and written. Worth seeking out if you can actually find a copy since the DVD is quite rare now.
PAN AND SCAN. Una historia bastante vectorial pero muy sincera y contada con candidez. La cinematografía es espectacular, así como las caracterizaciones de todos los personajes. / A very vectorial story although very sincere and candidly told. The cinematography is spectacular, as are the characterizations of all its characters.
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.
tackles a couple of sensitive questions about the colonial legacy - obviously, can't take them all on, but that's already admirable. plus, there's some really great acting there.
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.
Very simple and genuine movie. Sometimes it felt as if the director had staged a play on screen! I liked how developed his characters are.
Decent overview of Martinique and the lasting colonial influence in the Antilles.