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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a beautiful film.......
SUGAR CANE ALLEY was my introduction to the culture of Martinique during the 1930s. This beautiful 1983 release, directed by Euzhan Palcy, is a powerful and sensitively made character study. It follows the plight of Jose (Garry Cadenat), an eleven year old boy living with his grandmother, M'Man Tine (Darling Legitimus) in one of the poorest sections of the island. The...
Published on November 16, 2007 by D. Pawl

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars need better visibility
It was good but the lighting made it difficult to see the characters in the dark. I would have gotten a more digitally enhanced version if there were one.
Published 13 months ago by Searched for years


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a beautiful film......., November 16, 2007
This review is from: Sugar Cane Alley (DVD)
SUGAR CANE ALLEY was my introduction to the culture of Martinique during the 1930s. This beautiful 1983 release, directed by Euzhan Palcy, is a powerful and sensitively made character study. It follows the plight of Jose (Garry Cadenat), an eleven year old boy living with his grandmother, M'Man Tine (Darling Legitimus) in one of the poorest sections of the island. The only way the locals can (barely) sustain themselves is to toil away in the sugar cane fields (hence, the title of the film)-- a back-breaking and thankless job. The one way out of this toil and poverty is a good education. M'Man Tine knows this all too well and wants to spare her grandson the pain, anguish and great struggle that they encounter around them in spades. Jose applies himself in school and proves himself to be an eloquent, intelligent and wise-beyond-his-years writer. Will Jose's true gift be his (and his grandmother's) ticket out of the slums? You'll have to watch the film and see for yourself.

SUGAR CANE ALLEY received critical acclaim for its sensitive and realistic portrayal of the poor, Black experience in 1930s Martinique. This is a must-see for French students, anyone interested in the culture/history of Martinique or anyone looking to watch a powerful film about the triumph of the human spirit in the face of great adversity. Just beautiful......
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Post Emancipation Film, November 22, 2000
By 
Annette Moore (South Pasadena, California) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sugar Cane Alley [VHS] (VHS Tape)
The first time I saw this film was in college when our history teacher showed it to us to aide in our discussion of the post emancipation period in West Indian culture. It is one of the most dramatic and historically correct films I have ever seen. The issues dealt with reflect the concerns of the "free man". One can see the emerging importance of education in the building up of the free black community in Martinique during that period as well as the nature of black /white relationships on all levels. For anyone who desires to know more about post emancipation life in the West Indies this is your most entertaining chance. I praise this most dedicated and talented Caribbean film director for an excellent review of a most interesting period in West Indian life. This is and will always be one of my favorite films next to The Sound of Music and Schindler's List. Thanks go out to you Mr.David Omowale Franklin, my most dynamic former sociology and history teacher, for introducing me to Sugar Cane Alley.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally on DVD, September 3, 2005
This review is from: Sugar Cane Alley (DVD)
I'm delighted that this film is finally on DVD. A 'growing up' tale of a boy and his grandmother's determination to see him leave the sugarcane plantations and achieve a better life.

Memorable film making, this is not a complicated story, but clearly deeply felt by the writer/director, and it has a old fashioned depth and pace to it that contrasts vividly (to this film's advantage) with Hollywood's empty flashiness.

It reminds me in some ways of another little-known gem and growingup tale, Allen Fong's Father and Son, a Hong Kong movie.

One quibble - why change the name?

A big hand however for making this available on DVD and resisting the temptation to dub it for American audiences, who apparently don't like sub-titles...
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget the subtitles - This is a great movie for anyone to see., July 19, 2005
By 
Tremis (New York, NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sugar Cane Alley (DVD)
I really enjoyed this movie. Seeing a story of what life was like during that time in the Caribbean really showed me that black people are the same no matter where we are. This move is about a young man growing up in a sugar cane field and he is very smart and talented. He has the family support he needs around him, and with his intelligence and determination, he wins a scholarship to a top school in the island's main town. What makes it more powerful is that by the time he achieves all this success, his father figure and mother figure die. It is almost as if they were meant to be in his life to carry him to that point and then leave the earth because they did they came to do.

I don't care that the movie was in French with English subtitles, I really wish that people made more movies like this. Very good movie.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars de rigueur, October 23, 2000
This review is from: Sugar Cane Alley (Cancelled) (DVD)
As a French major and prospective teacher of French, I ofcourse find this a valuable tool for the classroom--BUT it's so muchmore than that! Since it's so often used in the classroom people tendto neglect that this is an outstanding film, beautifully put togetherwith some memorable acting. Anyone studying West Indian literaturewill get a chance to see in full color an outstanding representationof life in colonial Caribbean. (French teachers can also note that inusing a DVD you have the advantage of switching off the subtitles formore advanced students. And certainly native speakers will appreciatethis feature.) END
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Depiction of Caribbean Culture, not Haitian, September 25, 2003
By 
This review is from: Sugar Cane Alley [VHS] (VHS Tape)
To clarify this movie takes place in Martinique, a French territory, not Haiti, the first free Black nation. I found this movie to be interesting, engaging, and realistic in it's themes. I recommend it as a required viewing for world studies high school classes and college classes on caribbean culture.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sugar Cane Workers, March 3, 2008
This review is from: Sugar Cane Alley (DVD)
This movie depicts the life of sugar cane field workers in the French Caribbean and the great difficulty they have in doing anything else but working in the fields. It is also a delightful movie on poor blacks in the Caribbean, showing the day-to-day fun of the youth, and the real, practical concerns of their parents. In many respects it shows the intensiveness of Sugar cane harvesting, and is a nice movie to view for those who are interested in the story of sugar and its great impact on the modern Western Civilization. The movie is a nice companion to the great anthropologist Sidney Mintz' book Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History. The unknown actors are a treat for both their innocence and naturalness. Two to note are the main character of the movie, a young boy named Jose and an old man in the movie whose facial expressions and words stay with you long after the movie is over (particularly in the scene with Jose and him around a fire). To get more technical, the movie was not fantastic as there were not too many scenes that resonated more than this one just mentioned, the movie was however simply delightful. For Language buffs a nice introduction to Caribbean French.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sugar cane alley, September 30, 2012
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This review is from: Sugar Cane Alley [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I saw this movie a long time ago. I think it's a great adorable film for all ages. I used it to teach high schoolers, they enjoyed it.

I was anxious to get it again. I was dissappointed to get it in VHS. I would love to find it in DVD.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Endlessly Rewarding, December 21, 2013
By 
Chimonsho (Turtle Island) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sugar Cane Alley (DVD)
There isn't much to add to the substantive reviews already recorded here. "SCA" is both a fascinating period piece and a timeless reflection on family, education, colonialism, work, power and resistance. I never tire of watching it, and it always stimulates college students. The entire cast deserves one of the highest compliments paid to actors: you can't tell they're acting.

Here is another resource which can help viewers to get even more out of the film:

<> Albert O Hirschman, "Exit, Voice, Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations & States" <>

It's a brief academic work on economics, but consider how the three main youthful characters perfectly embody the strategic responses of the title. It makes even more sense knowing that Joseph Zobel, author of the original novel and inspiration for Jose's character, exited Martinque altogether and lived for decades in Senegal and France.

An ambitious teacher seeking to challenge students could put together a very good assignment using the film, Hirschman's book, and some other resources. Despite its didactic elements, the film succeeds brilliantly as pure entertainment. Enjoy!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a wonderful movie for both young people and adults., September 17, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Sugar Cane Alley [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I use this movie in my French classes and my high school students love it, as do I. It manages to mix humor and seriousness in telling a poignant story.
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Sugar Cane Alley
Sugar Cane Alley by Euzhan Palcy (DVD - 2004)
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