On June 13, Martinican director and screenwriter, Euzhan Palcy, received from the hands of Jean-Paul Salomé on behalf of the president of the board of directors of the SACD, Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, the medal of honor of the Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques. (Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers). With this distinction, the organization wanted to salute the talent and the entire work of the first female director and first black artist to have received a César. The ceremony took place in Paris in the presence of Pascal Rogard, director general of SACD and president of the French Coalition for Cultural Diversity and Patrick Raude, secretary general of the SACD.
Euzhan Palcy was born in Martinique in 1958. At the age of 14, she discovered a passion for the 7th art by reading Joseph Zobel’s novel, “La Rue Cases-Nègres” and she promised to become a filmmaker to put this story into images. The little girl kept her word and, in 1975, she left for France to study film at the famous École Louis Lumière in the Paris region. Six years later, she obtained the necessary funds from the Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée (CNC) to shoot “Rue Cases-Nègres” in Fort-de-France with the young Garry Cadenat, Darling Légitimus and Joby Bernabé. The film was released in 1983 and was a resounding success. Indeed, the following year, the Académie des arts et techniques du cinéma awarded him the famous bronze statuette of the César prize which rewards the excellence of French film productions. Euzhan Palcy was 25 years old. Then, the international awards (about twenty) will follow one another.
In 1989, this pioneer of cinema left her native Martinique and France for the United States to make a film on Apartheid in South Africa – “A Dry White Season” – with, among others, Donald Sutherland and Marlon Brando. Euzhan Palcy became the first woman to direct the Hollywood star and the first black woman to be produced by a Hollywood major. The film was a success and in 1990, the Martinican was nominated for an Oscar. In 1992, she directed “Simeon”, a fantastic musical film with the young Lucinda Messager, Jean-Claude Duverger and some members of Kassav’, Jacob Desvarieux and Jocelyne Béroard. Among her other productions, there is also the documentary “Parcours de dissidents”, shot in 2010 ; it is about the unknown or forgotten and perilous adventure of young Martinicans and Guadeloupeans who left to fight for the “Mother country”, France, during the Second World War.