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...and for your penance say the Rosary five times. Now make a good Act of Contrition.
FIVE Rosaries? Father, I have never in my life had to say so much as three Rosaries, let alone five. One, two at the most ...
Belizaire, the penance comes from God. It's not something that you negotiate.
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BELIZAIRE THE CAJUN is a trickster's tale. Belizaire (Armand Assante) is a healer and community leader who is standing against a displacement of a small Cajun settlement in rural Louisiana that is being led by "good white citizens" like Old Perry (Ernie Vincent), his reluctant son Matthew (Will Patton), and his obnoxious gung-ho vigilante son-in-law, James Willoughby (Stephen McHattie). Matthew Perry is a torn personality, as he has "gone native" with a beautiful Cajun woman Alida Thibodeaux (Gail Youngs) and is the father of her son and a child she is pregnant with. Belizaire nurses an old love for Alida, and this is a source of tension between he and Matthew that the surrounding community is aware of.
In addition to this conflict, there is an underlying problem between Matthew Perry and his brother-in-law Willoughby, who seeks to run the Perry plantation, but is distrusted by both Old Perry and his daughter Rebecca (Nancy Barrett). Beyond these issues, there are the problems engendered for the Cajun settlement by the mischief of petty raiders like Hypolite Leger (Michael Schoeffling), a man whose own family has been displaced by earlier seizures of Cajun land and livestock.
Before the story is over, Matthew Perry is dead, Belizaire winds up charged with his murder, and a lot of wheeling and dealing is done under the auspice of a Machiavellian sheriff (Loulan Pitre) and the parish priest (Allan Durand), all of which is brought to closure during a most amusing hanging scene that marks the climax of the work. With BELIZAIRE THE CAJUN, film maker Glen Pitre gives us a trickster's tale that is steeped in a little known chapter of United States history. And that chapter, which is as "all-American" as the white-led anti-black riots in St. Louis during the First World War and the U.S. led massacre at My Lai in Vietnam, is a semi-fictional chronicle of the harassment of the Arcadian (or Cajun) peoples of Southwest Louisiana in the years before the Civil War. It's a story that bears telling, and Pitre and his cast pull it off with a lot of humor as well as a "no foolin'" tone. The beautiful soundtrack provided by Cajun musicians Beausoleil adds depth and atmosphere. BELIZAIRE THE CAJUN is a "ringer" to be sure.
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