Set in the early 1900s, the Pazants family prepares to migrate from their Sea Island home to the mainland, leaving their land and legacy behind. Daughters of the Dust was the first dramatic feature film to explore the traditions of the Gullah.
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A masterpiece. Profound, haunting, elegiac, complicated...Dash is one of the unsung heroes of American Film, and a poet of cinema. I remember seeing this when Haile Gerima's own brilliant "Sankofa" came out around the same time, I believe. These heavy, soulful films inspired my own work - but continue to humble and resonate with me in more ways than I could imagine. Thank you, MUBI, for streaming this.
All the performances are great. I can't wait to see more of her stuff. I know some people don't like comparing the films by POCs to Western films, but this really gave me a sense of Fanny and Alexander. The production design, the costumes, and even the hairstyles are all very good. I think that the editing hasn't held up in time extremely well, but it is nonetheless an incredible film. More people need to see this.
In '91 I remember finding this work worthy but amateurish and felt it had been overhyped in critical opinion. 25 years later and seeing its 2K digital projection I recognize its importance and now lasting influence on independent cinema. The film's other worldly touches playing on magical realism, tribalism and tradition offer unforgettable moments well captured by d.p. Arthur Jafa. Memorable score as well.
To look forward or to hold to tradition? To leave or to stay, in a place you could never quite call your own? Julie Dash tackles these questions of American racial identity with such a trance-like style that, as thrilled as I was to see it in 4K at Film Forum, I kept wishing for a pause button and subtitles, because I'd get so caught up in the mood that I'd miss the dialogue. A potent American indie find.
A one-of-a-kind, magnificent work of feminist Tribalism. Beautiful photography, script, acting, and herstorical research make for a film that is in a genre of its own. A must for anyone who is interested in Tribal culture. It helped me to read about the Gullah people before watching this film, to understand the references, language, and herstorical context. This is a film I will never forget.
Took a while to get used to the rhythm & pace, which fell somewhere between dramatic theatre and post-apocalyptic genre comics/fiction. (Not sure I ever got used to the music..) As a lost & drifting gen-xer, I don't easily relate to feelings of place/tradition/family. In fact, it was hard to relate at all, to any of the characters' perspectives and/or to the director; and those are the 3 ways I watch film. Still, 3.5