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  • We tend to forget that the master/slave context of the past centuries lead to more than well-tended estates, powered by large groups of enslaved people, and a lot of money for the white owners. It lead to a group of people caught in the middle - the offspring resulting from slave owners interferring with their female slaves.

    Some of these children just became more slaves, and others were free...but free and coloured, which back then meant anything but, relative to the lot of their sires.

    A class formed around these offspring - the gens de couleur libre or free people of colour - and that class was able, to a certain extent, to own property, raise themselves from downtrodden to educated, and to attain a comparative dignity. That is to say, they weren't slaves, but they were still exploited to a certain extent.

    Often, the women lived as mistresses to the white plantation masters and men of wealth, set up in their own houses, with allowances, schooling paid for for their children, and a kind of gentility, dependent on the respectability they chose to impose on their families. In essence, they were prostituting themselves to ensure their own prosperity, and relative independence from labour - an arrangement called plaçage.

    Feast of All Saints is a beautifully written story about the children of one such woman, the result of just such an arrangement with a local gentleman, and the people who touched on their lives, in both a negative and a positive way. The tale was an eye-opener for me, a New Zealander, with no real conception of the black/white lines, let alone that grey area in the middle where the gens de couleur libre trod gingerly.

    The characters are very three dimensional, and have been well-rendered in this adaption of the novel, by Anne Rice. The parts are well-cast, the costumes are wonderful, and the brutal way the lines are drawn out, with the blurred areas made all the more distinct by the conflicts the protagonists go through. The gens de couleur libre could not marry the whites, the slaves could not help themselves, and the whites, even the sympathetic ones, couldn't bear to face the economic reality of doing right by the people they depended on.

    I recommend this story, both the novel and the miniseries, to everyone, unreservedly. If you can't handle the truth you'll cringe and cower through some parts, as one injustice after another is meted out on those of colour, both by their white oppressors, and by their own people. Bear in mind though that this is nothing more than reality, and this tale is an absorbing way to learn about it.

    I know it may sound callous, but this miniseries both entertained me and enthralled me, despite the sour taste I found in my mouth at what went on, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Watch it. If not read up on the period, because there's a lesson to be learned from it all.
  • This movie was a fascinating look at creole culture and society that few African Americans are aware. My own two children are by products of a paternal grandmother whose father was a member of the gens de couleur libre and a black skin woman whose parents were ex-slaves. He married outside of and against his culture and was cut off from all of his family except for one sister who took pity on her brothers plight; raising 8 children during the great depression of 1929; providing the family with food whenever she could. Of course she clandestinely aided this family fearing for her own ex-communication. My daughter was fascinated by the movie. We have made it a part of our library.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I am glad that a part of American history is finally brought to the small screen, in addition to Lifetime television's "The Courage to Love", that deals with the subject of placage (the keeping of Multiracial women by white men), class, racial identity, and destiny.

    I only find two flaws in the movie. Although I thought that Marcel was good, his accent was not continuous. One minute he speaks with a flawless Creole French accent, the next minute he sounds like a 21st century teen from southern California. In addition to that, I thought that some of the younger actors, most notably the males, should have been better in executing their scenes.

    With the above exceptions, the acting of the veteran actors was superb. Pam Grier played a dignified Creole woman of color, as did Victoria Rowell as the loving adoptive, yet secretive, mother of Cecile. Gloria Reuben also put forth a good performance as the haughty Cecile who secretly envies her daughter. Ruby Dee was awesome as the old guardian of Anna Bella, Madam Elsie. Jennifer Beals played a wonderful Dolly Rose. And, of course, Eartha Kitt as the seedy voodoo priestess Lola Dede.

    As for the rape scene, I did not find it brutal, primarily because I have seen even more brutal rape scenes in movies (i.e., The Accused, Showgirls, etc.)

    A definite winner. 8/10
  • I know that originally, this film was NOT a box office hit, but in light of recent Hollywood releases (most of which have been decidedly formula-ridden, plot less, pointless, "save-the-blonde-chick-no-matter-what" drivel), Feast of All Saints, certainly in this sorry context deserves a second opinion. The film--like the book--loses anchoring in some of the historical background, but it depicts a uniquely American dilemma set against the uniquely horrific American institution of human enslavement, and some of its tragic (and funny, and touching) consequences.

    And worthy of singling out is the youthful Robert Ri'chard, cast as the leading figure, Marcel, whose idealistic enthusiasm is truly universal as he sets out in the beginning of his 'coming of age,' only to be cruelly disappointed at what turns out to become his true education in the ways of the Southern plantation world of Louisiana, at the apex of the antebellum period. When I saw the previews featuring the (dreaded) blond-haired Ri'chard, I expected a buffoon, a fop, a caricature--I was pleasantly surprised.

    Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, the late Ben Vereen, Pam Grier, Victoria Rowell and even Jasmine Guy lend vivid imagery and formidable skill as actors in the backdrop tapestry of placage, voodoo, Creole "aristocracy," and Haitian revolt woven into this tale of human passion, hate, love, family, and racial perplexity in a society which is supposedly gone and yet somehow is still with us.
  • This movie was so badly written, directed and acted that it beggars belief. It should be remade with a better script, director and casting service. The worst problem is the acting. You have Jennifer Beals on the one hand who is polished, professional and totally believable, and on the other hand, Ri'chard, who is woefully miscast and just jarring in this particular piece. Peter Gallagher and Jenny Levine are just awful as the slave owning (and keeping) couple, although both normally do fine work. The actors (and director) should not have attempted to do accents at all--they are inconsistent and unbelievable. Much better to have concentrated on doing a good job in actual English. The casting is ludicrous. Why have children of an "African" merchant (thus less socially desirable to the gens de couleur society ) been cast with very pale skinned actors, while the supposedly socially desirable Marcel, has pronounced African features, including an obviously dyed blond "fro"? It's as if the casting directors cannot be bothered to read the script they are casting and to chose appropriate actors from a large pool of extremely talented and physically diverse actors of color. It's just so weird! This could be a great movie and should be re-made, but with people who respect the material and can choose appropriate and skilled actors. There are plenty of good actors out there, and it would be fun to see how Jennifer Beals, Daniel Sunjata and Gloria Reuben would do with an appropriate cast, good script and decent direction.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Wow. Yet again, someone's playing games w/great source material. Read the book. I will try, but I tend to give away plot lines (spoilers); so, stop reading NOW if you don't want to know too much.

    Based on an historical novel about the "free" people of color in LA; the movie drops VERY important expository plot lines. Further, the casting director clearly had no idea how to employ people who could actually act. The actor playing Marcel, the "main" character, is jarring. Every moment he is on screen is excruciating to watch and listen to. A corner "be-bop" dropped into 1800s LA.

    Plot: Plessage, the custom in LA during the 1800s, or auctioning off light skinned Black women to wealthy white men willing to set them up for life (or the life of the relationship), in nice houses. An entire class of people of color survived, some would say triumphed, by bartering the flesh of these Quadroons.

    Marcel and his sister are the children of a woman of plessage. Marcel is dark and his sister could be a "passe blanc", one who could pass for white. They have an elder sister as well (not revealed to Marcel until midway through the movie) and their "father's" refusal to free her (she is the daughter of a slave, not a free woman of color), leads to a heartbreaking act of revenge on her part. Difficult to watch, but perhaps the most effective part of the movie, serving as it does to jar the reader into realizing that all life in this town, at this time is plessage: women, white, black, whatever, are merely chattel (from the slave to the wives of the wealthy plantation owner). They are all bartered and sold.

    Marcel is raised by his mother to believe he is "free" and not really Black, but, as another character tells him, "different", has to learn that he is a "station", not a person. He lives in a world where the facade of "freedom" is maintained by everyone; but when he goes to his father's house, TO THE FRONT DOOR no less, he finds that unless you can "pass blanc", you are simply another Negro. Not different, the same as everyone else.

    Ironically, his full sister realizes that she IS Black. And she does not aspire to pass or to be anything other than what she is. To love the Black man she loves, to marry, to have as much happiness as is possible in the world that exists. It is her rape by 5 white men that underscores how impossible happiness is in a world where a woman of any color has limited choices.

    Despite the fact that the cast is headed by some well known names; quite a bit of the acting is abysmal. The actor playing Marcel, Ruby Dee, Ben Vereen, Gloria Reuben...they are simply awful. Accents come and go or don't exist at all. The true saving grace of the film? Jennifer Beals. I didn't know she could actually act; but she is more than credible as the owner of the house where the Quadroon balls are held. When she reveals that for a time she was married to a White English Lord, you even believe she was a credible lady of that "manor".

    I am not saying to skip this movie; but read the book first. Rich in detail and a feast for the mind, the book far exceeds the midling film.
  • Historical drama and coming of age story involving free people of color in pre civil war New Orleans. Starts off slow but picks up steam once you have learned about the main characters and the real action can begin. This is not just a story about the exploitation of black women, because these were free people. They may not have had all the rights of whites but they certainly had more control over their destinies than their slave ancestors. The young men and women in this story must each make their own choice about how to live their lives, whether to give into the depravity of the system or live with optimism and contribute to their community. I enjoyed all of the characters but my favorites were Christophe, Anna Bella, and Marcel.
  • lesyle15 June 2003
    I am normally skeptical about watching films or mini-series based on novels because the screenplay is always different from the novel. Fortunately, I was wrong! The screenplay was very close to the novel (I guess it helps that the author was an executive producer and writer, huh?)

    The cast is outstanding. I can't describe how much I enjoyed seeing such a wide range of actors (from Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee to Robert Ri'chard and Bianca Lawson).

    The location setting... I was expecting to see the homes and cottages I imagined in my mind: what I saw on screen was slightly different. However, it wasn't enough to make me dislike the mini-series.

    I recommend this for anyone who has read the novel: you will not be disappointed if you have. 8 out of 10 stars!
  • I read Rice's novel with interest, and became quite enchanted with its characters and heartbreaking tale based on historical truths.

    However, I was simply APPALLED at this disastrous adaptation. The casting was based merely on physical appearance, and not acting talent (with the obvious exception of Peter Gallagher, who was neither blond-haired, or able to act his way out of a wet paper bag). The cast's embarrassingly clumsy and inconsistent attempts at affecting a French accent was hilarious, but not in an entertaining way. I found myself wincing through this muddled and melodramatic tripe, and was surprised I made it to the end.

    A warning to fans of the novel - stay away from this one.
  • "Feast of All Saints?" Where...? When...?

    Was the Feast of All Saints storyline and theme edited out?

    What a waste of a wonderful title! There is never anything in the story that has the remotest connection to the "Feast of All Saints." Nor is there anything in the story about "All Souls Day" which the term is referencing. Why bother to use this title if you never intend to including any kind of storyline or theme about "All Souls Day" or the "Feast of All Saints"?

    Embarrassly Bad Script & Amateur Writing

    How did they attract such great talent to this clunker? The writing is so amateur--characters that have known each other all their life go into big long speeches about their life history for the sake of the audience. Not at all the way people talk to each other.

    What was the Director Thinking?

    The directing is equally bad! The forced and overly deliberate style feels amateurish. In one scene, a character is yelling "Take your hands off of me" and NO ONE is touching him! The most badly directed scene however, is the incredibly over-the-top battle scene at the beginning of the film.

    Excessive Gore in a Very Fake, Silly Battle Scene

    There are so many dead people in the most fake battle scene. It looks like a Saturday Night Live skit!! You can see extras waiting for their cues to walk across camera. Everyone plays their death scene like 4th grade boys--exaggerating every little gasp and twitch. The blood on battle victims is so excessive and carelessly applied it looks like someone used a ketchup dispenser and just squirted straight lines of red on the costumes.

    This whole battle scene comes off as the spoof of a really cheesy war movie. You almost expect someone like Will Ferrell and Mike Myers to ride up on a horse and deliver the punchline.

    Who in Real Life Would Ever Behave this Way?!

    The most ridiculous bit of writing, directing and casting is actually the focus of the scene:

    A little girl is standing under the dead body of her hanging father--who is terribly mutilated, and literally dripping blood form his gaping wounds. Even a totally idiot would know he is dead! Yet she is--very monotonously--repeating over and over "Daddy, daddy..." while looking at someone off-screen. She delivered it with about as much believability and passion as you could expect from an non-actor kid that had been repeating the line for the cameras all day.

    Even if the poor kid had any acting skills, the scene is completely unbelievable. The little girl wouldn't even BE in the middle of the battlefield after hours of carnage--surrounded by hundreds of dead bodies, while she calmly stands there!! Natural instincts would had the kid screaming and terrified, running AWAY from the bloody carnage!

    Are we Suppose to be Horrified or Laugh...?!

    One particularly goofy detail, that gives the scene an SNL satire tone, is the father hanging, with a huge hook through his mouth and cheek. He looks like a fish on a hook! The unintentionally funny details, make the whole scene come across as fake and silly.

    In Fantasy La-La-Land, Mothers and Daughters are the Same Age!

    Another funny detail, is that you see a central character--the little girl's mother--at the end of the scene and in the next scene, that occurs 20+ years later, she looks exactly the same! She is still young and beautiful, and now the same age as her daughter!

    I almost turned the movie off right there because the direction and writing were obviously awful--but I tried to stick it out because I wanted to see the Louisiana settings and I like all the actors. I don't know what these fine actors were thinking when they accepted these roles!

    Who was the Targeted Audience?

    The excessive amount of blood and badly acted violence in the opening scene are weirdly out of place with the soap opera storytelling tone that follows. It is also a strange way to start a movie that, for the rest of the time, seems targeted to romance novel reading females. Weird inconsistency in tone!
  • lolalavie22 January 2006
    Warning: Spoilers
    Some bitter wannabe critics will definitely try to make this movie out to be a lot worse than it is but it's not bad. I absolutely love the way the actors who played Marcel (Ri'chard), Marie (??), Jean Jacques (?? the dark Haitian man who made furniture) and Dolly Rose (Beals) bring the characters to life. They're amazing. I absolutely could not stand the role of Cecile (Marcel's mom). So indifferent and lacking in depth, it's just awful. That goes for Peter Gallagher's character as well. Don't you just love how he brings his dying behind to their home and leaves them with nothing? I also could have dealt without that rape scene, I mean I'm the most liberal of people but even I think it's too much. Other than that it was okay, lots of perpetuating social issues addressed in the film.
  • The story and the show were good, but it was really depressing and I hate depressing movies. Ri'Chard is great. He really put on a top notch performance, and the girl who played his sister was really awesome and gorgeous. Seriously, I thought she was Carmen Electra until I saw the IMDb profile. I can't say anything bad about Peter Galleghar. He's one of my favorite actors. I love Anne Rice. I'm currently reading the Vampire Chronicles, but I'm glad I saw the movie before reading the book. This is a little too"real" for me. I prefer Lestat and Louis's witty little tiffs to the struggles of slaves. Eartha Kitt was so creepy and after her character did what she did The movie was ruined for me; I could barely stand to watch the rest of the show. (sorry for the ambiguity, but I don't want to give anything away) Sorry, but it's just not my type of show.
  • Fascinating topic (pre-Civil War Creole life) is marred by trite dialogue. Many superb Afro-American actors inhabit this Dynasty-Blue&Gray-Roots clone. Good location shooting in Canada. Tragic story receives superficial treatment, but worth seeing just for the star-power. However, a well-handled but brutal sex scene in the second half made it very uncomfortable for me to watch it with my teen-age children.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I've bought, " The Feast of All Saints," and it's not truly a horrible movie, but a lot of things could have been better. It had a lot of historical value, played out by very talented actress/actors, and it's not an everyday occurrence that actors can play out such a role and have it be somewhat believable. There were some parts that were a little mediocre and confusing, but I wouldn't say that the entire movie was horrible. Once you think about that, capturing 1800's New Orleans, and making something out of it, it pretty hard, and much harder to get actors who can strongly signify those parts. But the only big problem I had with the movie was that most of the actors who did play the free people of color, were mostly light skinned Africans, not very universal in casting others who weren't light skinned; one of the old Creole stereotypes that still exists. Whomever did the casting could have picked a wider variety when it came to hue, despite many Creoles are color conscious.Rather picking actors that looked near white in a sense, could have been more thought out.The actors did a great job, the script could have better written, and overall I found the performances were very believable.
  • There's so little here of the fantastic Anne Rice book that what IS here makes no sense. Some of the characters--intense and surprising characters--don't make it to the screen at all, and those who do are watered down to the point that there's no reason for their existence.

    Where's the relationship between Christophe and Marcel? Where's the continued affair between Marcel and Juliet? Why does Dolly Rose appear at all, since her story's never explained? Where's the rape and redemption of Marie, whose greatest attribute (and downfall) is that she can pass for white--and her marriage to Richard? Why does the film end with Marcel's beating at the hands of his father? We learn nothing of Aglae beyond that she's a bitch who hates her husband; why no backstory explaining this hatred?

    As for the performances, there's not a one that's better than mediocre, though that's likely due to the lousy script. Best of the lot is that of the actor playing Richard--but Richard's not on screen enough to salvage the film. Worst is Jasmine Guy as Dolly Rose, though again, it comes down to the actress having nothing to do with what little she's given to work with.

    All in all, this is just terrible. I thought it'd be impossible for any Anne Rice book-turned film to be worse than EXIT TO EDEN, but FEAST OF ALL SAINTS makes that mess look like a critical hit. How is it that Rice is such a slut she'll allow her best works to become such junk on the screen?
  • lm428 February 2009
    My family goes back to New Orleans late 1600's early 1700's and in watching the movie I knew it was a history my grand-parents never talked about, but we knew it existed. I have cousins obviously black aka African Americans and others who can "pass" as white and chose not to. It's a hard history to watch when you realize that it's your family they're talking about and that Cane River is all a part of that history. It makes me want to cry and it makes me want to kick the 'arse' of my great grandfathers who owned those plantations and wonder in awe of how my great grandmothers of African heritage lived under that oppressive and yet aristocratic existence...And at the same time had I not come out of that history, I probably wouldn't be the successful business woman I am today living successfully in a fairly integrated world. The acting was both excellent and fair depending upon the actor, but it is a movie that NEEDED to be made. Anne Rice is incredible and I ask myself, why is she 'symbolically' writing about my family and I'm not. I recommend this movie to everyone. Leza
  • A slick romanticizing of the sexual exploitation of NewOrleans black women by white men of power and privilege. Ooh. Does that whet your appetite? Well, then, belly up to a VHS or DVD and gorge on this gratuitous trolling through a seamy segment of history. For good measure, it's adapted from the book by celebrated hack Anne Rice. The directing is as cloying and melodramatic as the cheesy dialog. Most of acting is amateurish. The production's sole worthwhile note is that it employed practically a dozen black actors, all of whom have scarcely been in employed in today's market (Jasmine Guy, Ben Vereen, Pam Grier, Eartha Kitt), including some faces that have barely been seen at all (Bianca Lawson, Rachel Cuttrell). It also is, despite itself, a sterling showcase for Nicole Lyn. The pompous and ponderous James Earl Jones is on-hand as well. So, is the late Ossie Davis, a minimal talent who owes his success to having been affiliated with the legendary Negro Ensemble Company. This film should be rated "T" for tripe.
  • betty14323 February 2019
    This was one of the best movies I've seen. The cast did a great job.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The plot of this movie- the practice of plessage and its effects on generations of black and mixed-race families- is interesting and revealing. The problem is that the acting and directing seemed amateurish at times. Robert Ri'chard (Marcel) was cute but so over-the-top it was distracting. I don't know much about him as an actor but maybe he was just inexperienced at the time of this movie. Why was he blond, by the way? Yes, his father was white but we're not all blond. He had more pronounced African features than his light-skinned mother (Gloria Reuben) but his hair was platinum blond. ??? Did they feel they had to make him blond to prove that his father was white? His childhood love Annabella was supposedly the daughter of a freed slave and not a product of plessage, but she was just as light-skinned as the characters with a white parent. What- they couldn't find a dark-skinned actress to play the part? I find that hard to believe. The only dark-skinned actors in this movie were peripheral characters. I'm white and even I was insulted.

    These actors were all absolutely gorgeous, but I didn't get the sense that they were all cast for their acting ability. Jennifer Beals was great as was Gloria Reuben. The young women who played Marie, Annabella and Lissette were good, and so was the (cute) guy who played Richard. (I think it was Daniel Sunjata.) I always like James Earl Jones. The rest just weren't that great. Just like other Anne Rice movies this story could've been better told with better casting.
  • annamariecolon18 February 2009
    Wow this was a movie was completely captivating I could not believe that I started awake so late to watch it but it came on late ounce I started watching I couldn't stop it had a full range of very good cast members wow even Eartha Kitt and Ruby Dee Forrest Whittaker and James Earl Jones and many more well known actors and actresses this was more than a glimpse into history it was eye opening into another part of society that people don't know of and may even be embarrassed to talk about . I've never heard of a book or movie about this before and this is something that black history never addresses only looks down on because they were privleged and mixed race , I highly recommend this movie