Oscilloscope Laboratories is bringing a long-lost classic Black film back to the forefront.
According to IndieWire, Horace B. Jenkins’ 1982 independent film, Cane River, will be released through Oscilloscope with a debut at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on February 7. A nationwide release will follow.
The film, described by IndieWire as “a race and colorism-themed love story with an all-Black cast, written and directed by a Black filmmaker [and] financed by wealthy Black backers,” was remastered by IndieCollect. Jenkins’ son Sacha, a filmmaker in his own right, as well as a journalist, told IndieWire he didn’t know his father’s film was getting restored until 2016.
“I just wonder how my father would have been recognized for what he did, and how life might have been different for myself, my sister and my mom if the film was officially released when it was supposed to, with Richard Pryor or whoever else was interested in releasing it,” he said, referencing how Pryor was ready to distribute the film. However, the Rhodes family, the film’s backers, wanted to remain in control of the film, which caused the film to go without distribution until now.
“I grew up in a single-parent household, in the ‘hood, telling people that my dad was a filmmaker,” he continued. “But no one really believed me, because there was nothing really tangible to show people.”
According to the report, Jenkins died when Sacha was 11. With that knowledge in mind–and because hindsight is 20/20–you have to wonder, like Sacha, what would have happened if Cane River received the distribution it deserved when it was created. At the very least, it’s important now that Cane River will now be seen by the masses, as it should have been.
Photo credit: Oscilloscope Laboratories
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