Would you like to do something for the planet?
A desire
to honor history

Euzhan Palcy

Fort de france

The beginnings of a

A woman fascinated by film

Born on January 13, 1958 in Martinique, Euzhan Palcy developed a passion for cinema at an early age. 

As a child, she watched many films by great directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Fritz Lang and Billy Wilder, and quickly became aware of the great inequalities between the roles of white and black actors.

It was at age 14 that she discovered the novel Black Shack Alley (French title: La Rue Cases-Nègres) and truly realized the power of her island's history. She promised herself that she would adapt it one day for the silver screen.

After a school education in Martinique, in 1975 she left for France and the Sorbonne, where she obtained a master's degree in theater and literature, a diploma in art and archeology and took courses on opera.

At the same time, she also studied at the Louis-Lumière school, where she specialized in photography. During this time, she met some of the greatest names in cinema, including François Truffaut, who was to become her mentor. 

Euzhan Palcy

A place among the 

The story of a great career

In 1981, the CNC (National Center for Cinematography) gave her the opportunity to benefit from the financial aid of the advance on receipts. On this occasion, she became the first woman from the West Indies to receive such assistance from the CNC.

And so, in Fort de France – with the help of Aimé Césaire, the city’s mayor at the time – she began filming Sugar Cane Alley, the adaptation of her beloved novel Black Shack Alley.

The film was released in cinemas on September 21, 1982, and was an instant hit. Euzhan Palcy realized her childhood dream, and on March 3, 1984, the 25-year-old director became the first woman to win a César for her first film.

Rue Cases nègres affiche film

The culmination of a
life's work

A César and an honorary Oscar later

She then moved to the United States, where she began directing a film adapting South African writer André Brink’s work about apartheid in his country, A Dry White Season, in which Marlon Brando was nominated for an Oscar in 1990.

She went on to direct several works in France and the United States, including a West Indian musical tale, a documentary series on Aimé Césaire, a drama about the colonial period in Reunion Island and the documentary The Journey of the Dissidents about the many West Indians who took part in the Second World War.  

Recognized and awarded for her work on several occasions, Euzhan Palcy has definitely written an important chapter in cinema in terms of inclusivity and duty of memory, while opening a door to new generations of women wanting to enter the seventh art.

In 2022, she received an honorary Oscar for her entire career’s work.  

Euzhan Palcy oscar

Martinique with a big

poissons jaunes

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