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English department screens classic film on Cajun culture

February 3, 2012

Glen Pitre, director of "Belizaire the Cajun"

The English Department at Loyola University New Orleans presents a screening of “Belizaire the Cajun,” in honor of the film’s 25th anniversary, today, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. in Room 332 of Bobet Hall. The film’s director, Glen Pitre, will also give a talk on the making of the film.

Starring Armand Assante, and first screened at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival, “Belizaire the Cajun” is often credited as one of the first serious looks at South Louisiana culture and a people often neglected and maligned. Although the film was made inexpensively, the convincing production values garnered critical praise when it opened.

In Pitre's script and rendering, Belizaire is framed as a charming trickster in the ancient tradition of the mythic figure, but also as a serious healer educated in the folk remedies of the Acadian people. For the first time on screen, Cajuns were depicted not as comic relief, as pirates or as villains, but as a living community imbued with a rich folklore and love of life. The traditional music and Assante's dancing in the film are often cited as memorable, but the film as a whole has remained fresh and engaging and has few competitors in the depiction of South Louisiana culture.

The event is free and open to the public. The screening is co-sponsored by Loyola’s Biever Guest Lecture Series and film studies program.

For more information, contact Andrew Macdonald at mdonald@loyno.edu or 504-865-2478.

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