Title   Cast   Director   Year Shown  Other Info    Country  Notes 

USA , 93 min

Shown in 1981


Michie Gleason
Keith Rotman, Bert Schneider
Michie Gleason
Elliot Davis
Beverly Ross, Jacques Martial, Greta Ronnigen, Monsour Sy, Oona Chaplin

Broken English

A debut film by Michie Gleason, Broken English has attracted the attention of those seeking talents in an American “new wave,” because it moves far beyond our shores to dramatize, in sociopolitical ways, the pitfalls of being an innocent abroad: the unexpected heartaches and disillusionments to be found in romantic places. It is at first, a leisurely observation of Sarah, a beautiful young woman working in a Parisian photo agency. She shares an apartment with Leslie, a blonde hedonist, to whom Paris is still tingling with la vie de bohème and, in search of casual joys, Sarah meets Maas, a young Senegalese intellectual. They become lovers and, after a period of idyllic, romantic interludes, it is revealed that Maas is part of an underground group of Southern African freedom fighters, involved in gun smuggling to liberation forces in Namibia. Sarah, on a motor trip to Tunisia with Leslie, becomes a pawn in these activities, and it is her realization of Maas’s participation in these events that causes a rift in their affair. For the first time in her life, Sarah has to face the inner conflicts of loving someone of another race and unwittingly committing herself ot a political cause because of it. The activism she had felt during her college days is put to the test, and in very incisive episodes, Broken English manages to show the splintered ideals of a woman who believed in her own liberation, emotionally and politically. Sarah’s reassessment of herself, because of Maas’s demands and Leslie’s close friendship, is profoundly dramatized ty a cast of new actors. Michie Gleason is decidedly a director of great promise, and her film is a brave delineation of the feminine consciousness holding its own in a world controlled by the violences of man against man.