|Anthropology, Articles, Communications/Media Studies, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2016-09-25 21:44Z by Steven|
The New York Times
Richard Romain in the 1982 film “Cane River.”
When it debuted in 1982, “Cane River” was already a rarity: a drama by an independent black filmmaker, financed by wealthy black patrons and dealing with race issues untouched by mainstream cinema. Richard Pryor had even tried to take it to Hollywood.
But since a negative resurfaced two years ago, it has attained a certain mythic quality, connecting a disparate group of people across the country: New York preservationists dedicated to restoring it; a cultural historian in Louisiana devoting an academic paper to it; an archivist in Los Angeles fascinated with it. And the director’s son, the music journalist and filmmaker Sacha Jenkins, who knew about the film but has never seen it, and who has been left with a question no small number of sons have asked about their fathers.
“Who was this guy?”…
…Cane River itself is a historically multicultural area in Natchitoches Parish in Louisiana, and the movie, in addition to being a Romeo-Juliet romance, deals with land swindles perpetrated against people of color, and “colorism”— that is, social hierarchy as dictated by skin tone.
“It’s a common issue, because there was a lot of intermarriage and, of course, slavery,” said Carol Balthazar, who was Horace Jenkins’s partner, and whose family history provided the movie’s historical backdrop…
…Ms. Spann watched a bootleg DVD of “Cane River.” “I can’t think of any film that dealt with colorism in such a serious way,” she said. She is writing a paper on “Cane River” for the Louisiana Historical Society, and said some of the scenes seemed too long. Debra I. Moore, who edited the film in 1980, said there’s a good reason for that…
Read the entire article here.