BAM, in partnership with Oscilloscope Films, is delighted to bring back Horace B. Jenkins’ newly restored and rediscovered Cane River, which was a hit at our cinemas in February.
This long-lost gem of Black independent cinema was shot in Natchitoches Parish, a historically “free community of color” in Louisiana, with an entirely African-American cast and crew. An at-once frothy and socially incisive romance-cum-family melodrama, Cane River follows Peter (Romain), a brash former football player and aspiring writer, as he returns to his hometown in rural Louisiana and strikes up a relationship with the spirited Maria (Myrick), despite the disapproval of her family. Their Romeo and Juliet-esque affair lays bare the long-festering tensions between light-skinned, property-owning Creoles and the more disenfranchised, darker-skinned families descended from slaves. Infused with poetic feeling for the local flavor of its setting, this luminous Black pastoral—the only feature directed by Horace Jenkins before his untimely death at age 42—addresses thorny issues of colorism, the legacy of slavery, and African-American land loss with a deft, deceptively light touch.
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