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Sugar Cane Alley (French title: Rue Cases-Nègres) is a 1983 film directed by Euzhan Palcy. It is set in Martiniquemarker in the 1930s, where blacks working sugarcane fields were still treated harshly by the white ruling class. It is based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Joseph Zobel of the same name, or, alternatively titled Black Shack Alley.


José is a young boy who wins a partial scholarship to attend high school in Fort-de-Francemarker, the capital. His grandmother accompanies him there, working as a laundrywoman for the rich white ruling class to pay for costs. José deals with pressure around him, especially with his professor. When he writes an essay on the lives of poor blacks, he is accused of plagiarism. José runs away from school, back to his small shack in the city. His professor goes to his house and tells José that he was wrongly accused, offering an apology. Later, he returns to Black Shack Alley after his grandmother has a heart attack. This happened while she was returning home from a trip to a local clothesmaker to repair José's suit. Even as his grandmother dies, José is launched into a future he can not control.


The film swept the César Awards (the equivalent of the Academy Award in Francemarker), and won two awards, including the Silver Lion, at Mostra the Venice Film Festival.The actress, Darling Légitimus, 76 years old at this period, won the Prize of Best Actress (Gold Lion).

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