Burning Cane

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Movie Info & Cast


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.


  • Wendell Pierce
  • Karen Kaia Livers
  • Dominique McClellan
  • Braelyn Kelly
  • Cynthia Capers
  • Emyri Crutchfield
  • Erika Woods

Atom User Reviews

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Oct 24, 2019

Youmans ultimately grapples with several tough themes that center the black Baptist South in a way that is rarely seen on screen. Even so, the inept editing and screenplay ultimately bring down Burning Cane.

Metacritic review by Candice Frederick
Candice Frederick
May 13, 2019

A Faulknerian look at domestic violence, self-destructiveness and faith set in a small Louisiana town, its cinematic style owes something to Terrence Malick — though this spare, 77-minute debut has none of the meandering self-indulgence of that auteur's recent work.

Metacritic review by John DeFore
John DeFore
The Hollywood Reporter
May 3, 2019

It takes more than simply celebrating rural life and marveling at nature to make someone the next David Gordon Green, let alone the next Terrence Malick. While Yeomans inarguably finds something significant in the slow pace of small towns, the power of narration and the jolt of handheld cinematography, exactly what that is isn’t always clear. In fact, sometimes it’s literally unclear; shots slip out of focus, and some close-ups are so poorly lit the characters’ features disappear.

Stephen Whitty
Screen Daily