When Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” film premiered this past April on HBO, many critics were quick to cite numerous influences on the stylized work. One of the most cited influences was Julie Dash’s 1991 seminal film “Daughters of the Dust,” about the lives of a family on a small island near South Carolina at the turn of the century, which was the first American feature directed by an African American woman ever to receive a theatrical release. Now, the film has received a 25th anniversary 2K restoration that will open theatrically this November. Watch a trailer for the film and check out the new poster below.
“Daughters of the Dust” follows the women in Peazant family, who belong to the creole Gullah culture – former slaves living in the coastal Carolinas who have been able to preserve much of their African cultural heritage. As they prepare to migrate, leaving their land and legacy for the promise of the North, conflict and struggles rise to the surface. Unfolding over the course of the family’s final picnic in their current home, Dash saturates the audience with impressionistic colors, African symbolism, Geechee-Gullah rituals, the sound of field cries, and more, all of which express the complex resonances of the Lowcountry lifestyle. “Daughters of the Dust” is a post-slavery narrative about cultural memory, notions of home and belonging, and conflicts of Black female identity. The film won the Best Cinematography award at the 1991 Sundance Film Festival and was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry in 2004.
“Daughters of the Dust” will open theatrically on November 18th at the Film Forum in New York, where it first screened theatrically 25 years prior.