Euzhan Palcy began her career as a TV writer and director in Martinique before moving to Paris in the mid-1970s. Her first feature, "Sugar Cane Alley," was shot in 1983 on a budget of only $800,000. The film is a remarkably polished account of Martiniquan sugar-cane workers whose condition still approaches that of slavery; it recounts the efforts of a young orphan to escape her background via a classical education that--ironically--is also part of the legacy of colonialism. The film marked an auspicious debut for Palcy, winning a Cesar (the French Oscar) for best first film as well as a Silver Lion at Venice. Her next feature, "A Dry White Season" (1989), was adapted from Andre Brink's novel about the persecution of a black family by the South African police. Despite a cast which included Donald Sutherland, Susan Sarandon and--in a highly effective cameo--Marlon Brando, the result was a somewhat wooden, formulaic indictment of the horrors of apartheid.