Two films with prominent roles by Black women have made the exclusive Cannes Classics –a program introduced in 2004 to re-introduce extraordinary and outstanding films to the international Cannes audience. The films are “A Bronx Tale” and “Sugarcane Alley.”
Sugarcane Alley (1983)
“Sugarcane Alley” (originally titled Rue cases nègres) was written and directed by Martinque-born filmmaker Euzhan Palcy. The film centers around a young boy and his grandmother who live and work on a Martinique sugarcane plantation in the 1930’s. The young boy listens to stories of Africa from the elders and enters an essay contest at
school where he details what he’s heard. He’s accused of plagiarism and the future of his academic career are threatened. “Sugarcane Alley” went on to win over 17 awards, including the César Award (the French equivalent to Academy Award). Ms. Palcy’s remarkable filmmaking talents were also used for apartheid-era film “A Dry White Season” based on a novel by South African writer André Brink. Ms. Palcy also credits her career growth to her mentor, the renowned French director François Truffaut.
A Bronx Tale (1993)
“A Bronx Tale” was based on a one-man stage show by actor Chazz Palminteri, who also starred in the film as neighborhood gangster Sonny. The original play –and movie– is a coming of age story based on Palminteri’s childhood in the Bronx, including the story of him growing up as an Italian teenager who falls in love with an African American teenage girl in from a neighboring school. The young man must choose between the path his jazz-loving, working class father is hoping for him and the fast money and fast life his other father-figure –the mob boss Sonny– is offering to him.
“A Bronx Tale” was directed by actor Robert Deniro who also stars as the young boy’s father. The young actress who played the main character’s girlfriend, was Taral Hicks who went on to star in “Belly” with rappers Nas and DMX, “The Preacher’s Wife” with Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston, and the television series “Soul Food,” based on the film with the same name. Main actor Lilo Brancato went on star in other roles, including to hit HBO series “The Sopranos,” but had his career upended when he was involved and convicted in a botched robbery attempt that result in manslaughter.
The full Cannes Classics list is as follows:
- A Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage dans la lune) by Georges Melies (France, 1902, 16′)
- Clockwork Orange by Stanley Kubrick (USA, 1971, 137′)
- The Machine to Kill Bad People (La Macchina Ammazzacattivi) by Roberto Rossellini (Italy, 1952, 80′)
- A Bronx Tale by Robert De Niro (USA, 1993, 121′).
- The Conformist (Il Conformista) by Bernardo Bertolucci (Italy, 1970, 118′)
- Sugar Cane Alley (Rue Cases Négres) by Euzhan Palcy (France, 1983, 106′)
- Puzzle of a Downfall Child by Jerry Schatzberg (USA, 1970, 105′)
- The Law of the Border (Hudutlarin Kanunu) by Lufti O. Akad (Turkey, 1966, 74′)
- No Man’s Land (Niemandsland) by Victor Trivas (Germany, 1931, 81′).
- The Children of Paradise (Les Enfants du paradis) by Marcel Carné (France, 1945, 190′)
- Despair by Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Germany, 1978, 115′)
- The Savage (Le Sauvage) by Jean-Paul Rappeneau (France, 1975, 106′)
- Chronicle of a Summer (Chronique d’un été) by Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin (France, 1966, 91′)
- The Assassin (L’Assassino) by Elio Petri (Italy, 1961, 100′)
And the following documentaries:
- The Look by Angelica Maccarone (Germany / France, 2011, 95′)
- Corman’s World: Exploits Of A Hollywood Rebel by Alex Stapleton (USA, 2011, 125′)
- Belmondo … Itineraire by Vincent Perrot and Jeff Domenech (France, 2011, 86′)
- Kurosawa’s Way (Kurosawa, la Voie) by Catherine Cadou (France, 2011, 52′)
- Once Upon a Time … A Clockwork Orange (Il était une fois… Orange mécanique) by Antoine de Gaudemar and Michel Ciment (France, 2011, 52′)
Read more at The Hollywood Reporter:
More about the Cannes Film Festival (Festival de Cannes):