March puts women in the spotlight.
Particularly for women of color, the month offers extended focus from Black History Month to emphasize the accomplishments of trailblazers during 31 days dedicated Women’s History Month.
From now until next weekend, African Diaspora International Film Festival slates a selection of 10 films centering on the gender to represent various social backgrounds in the USA, Egypt, Haiti, Peru, India, Senegal, Puerto Rico and Burkina Faso.
The diverse lineup slated for Teachers College, Columbia University (525 W 120th St. Room 408 Zankel) — highlights select screenings bolstered by question and answer segments afterwards.
Among them: Zora Neale Hurston: “Jump At The Sun” by Sam Pollard (USA) documents the pioneering novelist and anthropologist who established African American vernacular in a definitive film biography which captures her complexity by presenting her as a gifted, flamboyant, and controversial yet fiercely original figure in the American literary canon.
“Colorism in Latin America: White Like The Moon” by Marina Palmier & “Angelica” by Marisol Gómez-Mouakad (USA / Puerto Rico) focuses on a Mexican-American girl struggling to keep her identity when her mother forces her to bleach her skin.
In “Angelica” by Marisol Gomez-Mouakad, a young Black woman returns to Puerto Rico when her father suffers a stroke, forcing her to confront her strained relationships with family members who judge her for her skin color.
“Ludi” by Edson Jean (USA/Haiti) traverses an immigrant issue when ‘a half- truth lands her under immense financial pressure, Ludi Alcidor embarks on a frantic scour through Miami’s private care-taking world in an increasingly desperate attempt to send money to her family in Haiti.
“Ticha Shaher Hona/City Personnified” by Rasika Agashe (India) is a Mumbai-based story which follows Archana, ‘a professional woman leading a routine life who meets confident and vocal house help Kiran. Tragically, Kiran dies in a road accident witnessed by Archana, who is left shattered.’
Others include “Scheherazade, Tell Me A Story” by Yousry Nasrallah *Egypt) “Angels on Diamond Street” by Petr Lom (USA) “Rosa Chumbe” by Jonatan Relayze (Peru) “the Silent Monologues” by Charles Van Damme and Khady Sylla (Senegal.Belgium) and “An Uncommon Woman” by Abdoulaye Dao (Burkina Faso)
For more details, check ADIFF.org
MARTINIQUE’S EUZHAN RETURNS TO BASK IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Following decades of hiatus from the film industry Euzhan Palcy, Martinique’s award winning director blazed back from retreat to collect an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement.
During a Governor’s award ceremony in California recently, Palcy was introduced by actress Viola Davis.
Davis lauded the first Black woman to direct a film for a major Hollywood studio explaining to colleagues in attendance that the trailblazer stepped away from the industry she had invested because it refused to fund films starring Black actors.
In accepting the distinguished honor, the Caribbean legend explained her return was partly attributed to the fact colleagues such as Ava DuVernay (When They See Us), Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Woman King) Julie Dash (Daughters of the Dust) and others had forced the film industry to concede “Black and female is bankable.”
To those Black women the writer, producer and director expressed her gratitude for continuing to champion and share the work she toiled four decades ago.
Palcy’s emergence in the film industry introduced “Sugar Cane Alley,” a feature film which focused on Martinique’s French colonial dominance in 1931.
Revealing and poignant, its premiere won the Silver Lion at the 1983 Venice Film Festival pioneering the first such for a Black director.
The film garnered much acclaim winning accolades and first time honors for the director. Among them a César Award for Best First Work, the first César won by a woman director and by a Black filmmaker.
Her next film in 1989 pathed a winning streak with “A Dry White Season.”
On that outing Palcy directed from Zimbabwe to focus her lens on a drama made during the peak years of apartheid South Africa.
The film starred Marlon Brandon, Donald Sutherland, Thoko Ntshinga, Zakes Mokae, Jurgen Procthnow and Janet Suzman.
Brando received an Oscar nomination for his role.
It was this production which established the first Black woman to direct a film for a major Hollywood studio.
Her films also include the musical fairytale “Siméon.”
Throughout her storied career, Palcy is acclaimed for exploring themes related to race, gender, politics, colonialism and Black culture.
“I was so tired of being told I was a pioneer,” Palcy said. “I was so tired of hearing praise for being the first of too many firsts.”
“With my camera I don’t shoot, I heal.”
Catch You On The Inside!