DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST
(director/writer: Julie Dash; cinematographer: Arthur Jafa; editors: Joseph Burton/Amy Carey; music: John Barnes; cast: Cora Lee Day (Nana Peazant), Alva Rogers (Eula Peazant), Barbara-O (Yellow Mary), Trula Hoosier (Trula), Kaycee Moore (Haagar), Adisa Anderson (Eli Peazant), Umar Abdurrahamn (Bilal Muhammed), Cheryl Lynn Bruce (Viola Peazant); Runtime: 114; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Julie Dash; Cohen Media Group/Kino International; 1991)
“An amazing first feature by director-writer Julie Dash.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
An amazing first feature by director-writer Julie Dash (“The Rosa Parks Story”/”Love Song”). It’s a timeless, lyrical, non-linear, historical, oneiric, family movie to revere for its family album take on a spiritual adventure. It also happens to be the first feature by an African-American woman.
It’s set in the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina. It follows a Gullah family in 1902 (they are former West African slaves who adopted many of their ancestors’ Yoruba traditions). The family is preparing to leave for the North and its promises of a better life. Though some family members choose to stay behind, as it shows the ongoing clash between those that favor traditional values and those that are more spiritually progressive.
The film dazzles with many haunting images, as it’s a heart-felt and personal film with a striking mood for family values and a group resolve to succeed. Its vibrant visual effects overcomes any weakness in its narrative.
It’s an original film, a lyrical meditation on the spiritual awareness the group of women had as they acted as the guardians of their cultural heritage.
REVIEWED ON 4/10/2023 GRADE: A