Daughters of the Dust

23 March 2017

Julie Dash's groundbreaking Great Migration drama available restored on DCP.

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Daughters of the Dust, Julie Dash’s landmark production about the inter-generational struggles faced by a Gullah community living on the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina, is now available as a newly restored DCP.

After competing at Sundance in 1991, Daughters of the Dust went on to become the first feature directed by an African-American woman to receive general theatrical distribution in the US. Much like the family at its heart, the film exists in a world somewhat of its own; its visual language is distinctive and poetic, its spoken dialogue adopts the islanders’ native creole and it draws on a cultural heritage and narrative mythos far removed from much of American independent cinema.

As the Peazant clan shapes and reshapes its identity and family members debate how to manage integration with the modern world, Dash’s portrait of the Great Migration develops a unique, polyglottal vernacular that is at once traditional and contemporary, celebratory and elegiac.

Daughters of the Dust25 years after its original release, Daughters of the Dust was restored in 2016 by the Cohen Media Group in conjunction with UCLA, with colour grading work overseen by the film’s cinematographer, Arthur Jaffa. The restoration was greeted with critical acclaim upon its US release and received the Special Award at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards.

Selected press

  • The return of Julie Dash's historic Daughters of the Dust - The New Yorker
  • Daughters of the Dust: Julie Dash's epochal feature embraces realities and reveries - Village Voice
  • Daughters of the Dust, Julie Dash's 1991 triumph, makes a welcome return - Los Angeles Times
  • What came before Daughters of the Dust - Salon