Filmmaker Euzhan Palcy is best known for her internationally acclaimed drama Rue cases negres (1983). The praise for this film lead her to Hollywood where she became the first black woman to direct a film for a major studio. The film, MGM's A Dry White Season was based on a novel by Andre Brink. Palcy showed her remarkable talents at an early age. With encouragement from her father, she wrote poetry, songs, and performed drama. While in Martinique she wrote for local periodicals. During her teens she read two books that have had tremendous impact upon her film career: Alan Paton's Cry the Beloved Country, and Josef Zobels Martiniquan classic La rue cases negres, which became the basis of her first film. At seventeen she directed and acted in La messagere (1974) which was a short play for televison. She then went to Paris to study literature at the Sorbonne. While there, she simultaneously studied cinema at the Rue Lumiere School. In order to get French TV to fund her dream project Rue, she had to produce a short film to prove her talent. The result was Devil's Workshop (1981-2) the prototype for her more famous feature length film.
Biography by Sandra Brennan
- Wrote, acted in, and directed the French film La Messagere at age 17.
- Moved to Paris from Martinique in 1977 to study at the Sorbonne.
- Directed her first feature film, Sugar Cane Alley, in 1983.
- Was the first black woman to have her work produced by a major Hollywood studio, A Dry White Season (1989).
- Awarded the Legion of Honour in France in 2004.
- Was appointed an Officer of the National Order of Merit in France in 2011.