Black Shack Alley (1983)

PG   |    |  Drama, History

Black Shack Alley (1983) Poster

Martinique, in the early 1930s. Young José and his grandmother live in a small village. Nearly everyone works cutting cane and barely earning a living. The overseer can fine a worker for ... See full summary »

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  • Black Shack Alley (1983)
  • Black Shack Alley (1983)
  • Black Shack Alley (1983)
  • Euzhan Palcy in Black Shack Alley (1983)
  • Garry Cadenat in Black Shack Alley (1983)
  • Black Shack Alley (1983)

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User Reviews

12 February 2006 | netflixhaiku
| Haiku: Rue Cases Nègres
Haiku: Thank you Grandmother / For not sugar-coating our / Trip out of shanty FOUR PLUSES & A NEGATIVE: 1) French language film with Black Afro-Centric Themes. 2) Strong performances by actors and non-actors, both young and old . 3) Film is directed by a Black woman, Euzhan Palcy, who would go on to direct "A Dry White Season"... becoming the first Black woman to direct a Hollywood movie (according to IMDb trivia). 4) Uplifting themes about the importance of education, self respect, etc. for the betterment of Blacks in Martinique in the 1930s (that still ring true for Blacks everywhere today!) 5) Runtime of 103 minutes needed more consistent pacing as there were moments that felt a bit slow.

Random Thoughts: I had just dropped out of college (SUNY Buffalo) for the umpteenth time. It was difficult for me being young, Black and gay in Buffalo circa 1985. My biggest struggle was succumbing to my parents desire to see me pursue a major (Accounting) that would lead to employment versus one that I was interested in and passionate about (French and languages). After dropping out, returning home, working a series of meaningless jobs and wondering aimlessly through some local community colleges, I decided to take French lessons at the Alliance Francaise in NYC. Like in France, they "released " movies on Wednesdays and that was the highlight of my French school week.

It was at the Alliance Francaise that I first saw "Rue Cases Nègres" and it was after viewing that film I dedicated myself to becoming fluent in French, living in France, finishing school, living my life, etc. My rating of seven (7) reflects more the impact and importance of this movie for me.

If you'd like to read more of my haikus, please visit my blog at

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Plot Summary


Drama | History

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