burning cane trailer

What were you doing with your life at 19 years old? Were you winning the top honors at the Tribeca Film Festival and being hailed as a bright rising filmmaker who directed one of the best black films of the year? Very few people can pull off those accomplishments, but 19-year-old NOCCA graduate Phillip Youmans pulled that off with his debut feature Burning Cane, a mesmerizing Malick-ian drama that grapples with toxic masculinity in the deep South. The film won the Best Narrative Feature award at Tribeca and will now be making its way to select theaters before it hits Netflix this November. Watch the Burning Cane trailer below.

Burning Cane Trailer

Burning Cane marks the arrival of a bright new filmmaker in Phillip Youman, who delivers a quietly affecting fable in Burning Cane, the winner of Tribeca’s Best Narrative Feature award as well as honors for cinematography and acting for star Wendell Pierce (The Wire), who plays a troubled alcholic preacher. The film was quickly snapped up by Netflix, which set the film for a limited theatrical release, presumably for some awards buzz. It probably won’t break into the crowded Oscar field, but Burning Cane is an incredibly impressive feature from a debut filmmaker.

As I wrote in my review at Tribeca, “Youmans brings a lyrical and, yes, Terrence Malickian style to his direction, which paints a dreamlike vision of a small southeastern Louisiana town riddled with abuse and despair. While the film’s slow pace and meandering narrative does make Burning Cane hard to follow and its themes a little opaque, Youmans’ eye for crafting indelible, mesmerizing images are what elevate Burning Cane to a higher, near transcendent level.”

Here is the synopsis to Burning Cane:

BURNING CANE tells the story of a deeply religious woman’s (Karen Kaia Livers) struggle to reconcile her convictions of faith with the love she has for her alcoholic son (Dominique McClellan) and a troubled preacher (Wendell Pierce). Set in rural Louisiana, the film explores the relationships within a southern black protestant community, examining the roots of toxic masculinity, how manhood is defined and the dichotomous role of religion and faith.

Burning Cane opens in select theaters in New York and Los Angeles on October 25 and November 8 respectively, before it hits Netflix on November 6, 2019.

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