The movie stars Armande Assante, and it's what made me a massive fan of his. He was at his peak as a romantic leading man when this film was made in 1986. Suave, always elegant, often tough, perhaps best known as the 'Dandy Don,' John Gotti in the HBO movie, and as Judy Benjamin's cheating French husband in Pvt. Benjamin, opposite Goldie Hawn.
But in Belizaire the Cajun, Armande Assante shed his matinee-idol persona and showed that he was actually a very real actor (something that the subsequent years have well-proven). There isn't a hint of elegance or savoir-fair in his performance as 'Belizaire Breaux,' not a wink the his fans that "okay, you know it's really me...!", as he's as scruffy as you could happily want for the role, almost to the point of being unrecognizable. A full-flowing beard, long unkempt hair, scraggly clothes, down-and-dirty, rough hewn and earthy. In short, he doesn't play 'Armande Assante' as many other actors might, he's Belizaire.
That he took such a mangy role -- and for such a tiny movie -- is part of why I was so impressed. (That he's so great in it, of course, is the main reason.) But I suspect that those are the very reasons he did take the role, to show producers what he could actually do.
Also jubilant in the film is the great Cajun score, written by the wonderful Michael Doucet and performed by him with his group Beausoleil. This song below isn't from the movie, but it's from Doucet with Beausoleil and in the very same spirit.