July 22, 2003 – Thanks to the St. John Historical Society, cinema — and free cinema at that — is coming to St. John on Saturday nights through the end of August in a series of showings at the Inn at Tamarind Court.
"These movies have not been seen as much as they should be," Chuck Pishko, society president, said.
"Sugar Cane Alley," an award-winning 1983 French production with dialogue in French and English subtitles, will be shown on Saturday. Filmed in Martinique and directed by acclaimed Martinican filmmaker Euzan Palcy, the story follows the life of a young boy as he struggles to free himself from the poor living conditions and oppressive atmosphere of his sugar cane laborer's village.
Pishko said that one of the characters is a former slave who shares his African spirituality with the boy. Here are links to Web sites with background on "Sugar Cane Alley" and filmmaker Euzan Palcy.
Aug. 2 will be Family Night, with two movies suitable for children.
The first offering is the claymation 1990 Oscar-winning short film "Creature Comforts," which tells the story of how animals feel about living in a zoo. The British film is from the creator of Wallace and Gromit.
The second, "Never Cry Wolf," is a 1990 Disney film that explores the impact wolves have on diminishing herds of caribou. The young biologist making the study learns lessons about himself and humans' relationship with nature. It was filmed in Canada by Carroll Bailard and based on a book written by Farley Mowat.
The Aug. 9 film will be "Mister Johnson." Set in Nigeria in the 1920s, it's the tragicomic story of a native clerk in the British civil service, Mister Johnson, who strives to find balance between his indigenous culture and that of the white colonials. "It's funny," Pishko said.
The 1990 film stars Pierce Brosnan and Maynard Eziashi and was adapted by William Boyd from a book by Joyce Cary. It was directed by Australian New Wave filmmaker Bruce Beresford, who won an Oscar for "Driving Miss Daisy."
There won't be a film on Aug. 16.
The series concludes on Aug. 23 with "Burn," staring Marlon Brando and Evaristo Marquez. Pishko called this film "controversial." It centers on William Walker, an adventurer who heads to a Caribbean island to foment a rebellion. Produced in 1969, it was written by Franco Solinas and directed by Gillo Pontcorvo. It also stars Evaristo Marquez.
All showings will begin at 7:30 p.m.
While the St. John Historical Society has previously held its activities during the winter because it has a high percentage of snowbirds as members, it is now expanding to the summer months, Pishko said. "We wanted to be a full-time activity," he said.

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