I saw this film by pure accident in the 1980's it was part of a double bill the other film was Orfeo Negro the Brazilian film which was the film I set out to see. What a wonderful discovery. This film has continued to be an all time favourite, every time I watch it there is always something new to appreciate. The film is a timeless class, a masterpiece and to think that the director was still a student when she made this film. The acting, the cinematography, the soundtrack, the attention to detail the list is endless. For anyone who wants to understand the Caribbean culture whether it be English, French or Spanish dominated this is the film to watch. The film explores all the nuances of life in the West Indies, the culture of the matriarch, the oral story telling traditions, the culture of shadism , the colour caste system inherited by the colonial past. It is disgraceful that this film was allowed to go out of print especially when films from this neck of the woods are extremely rare and hard to find. This wonderful masterpiece should be required viewing for schools in Britain where there is a significant population of children with African Caribbean heritage. The film is a tribute to the work of Josef Zobbel's "Les rues cases negres" translated in English as Black Shack Alley and it does credit to this equally brilliant masterpiece of literature based on his autobiography of his childhood in the sugar cane fields of Martinique. Do yourself a favour buy, beg or borrow this film and be inspired.
I first watched Sugar Cane Alley (Black Shack Alley) in the 1980's soon after reading Joseph Zobel's book on which the film is based. Sugar Cane Alley has to be one of the best films to come out of the Caribbean. Set in 1930's Martinique, it follows the lives of young Jose (Gary Cadenat) and his grandmother (Darling Legitimus) who ensures he gains a good education and so does not end up as just another poor worker in the cane fields. I am pleased to find that watching it over thirty years later, it's still as vibrant and enjoyable as ever. This film is definitely recommended viewing.