After turning down a professional football contract, Peter Metoyer (Richard Romain) returns to his Louisiana hometown, Natchitoches Parish, a historical “free community of color,” to be a farmer and poet. Peter meets Maria Mathis (Tommye Myrick) and a romance quickly blossoms between the two of them, but not without complications. While both Peter and Maria are Black, they are from two separate communities that are divided by color, class, and religion, making the longevity of their relationship questionable. Peter and Maria must decide if their love can survive amidst their sociocultural differences. Written, produced, and directed by Emmy Award-winning documentarian, Horace B. Jenkins, and crafted by an entirely African American cast and crew, Cane River was nearly lost to time after Jenkin’s untimely death following the production of this film. Nearly 40 years after its production, Cane River has become a celebrated film in the ever-developing archive of Black independent cinema for its skillful portrait of an intraracial love story.
This screening will be preceded by a lecture from Dr. Les Gray, Assistant Professor of Theatre at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Dr. Gray's lecture, "Black Performance and Embodying Memory," will discuss how Black folks in the United States have used performance to share the things we know in our bones in the quest for justice, healing, and liberation.