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Daughters of the Dust

25th Anniversary Restoration

Daughters of the Dust is the story of conflict and struggle between changing values in the early 1900’s as a Lowcountry family, living on one of the sea islands, prepares to migrate, leaving their land and legacy for the promise of the North. The film focuses on the women of the Peazant Family; the carriers of traditions and beliefs firmly linked to their African heritage.

The story unfolds over the course of a family picnic, the last supper. Along the way, the film saturates us with impressionistic colors, African symbolism, Geechee‐Gullah rituals, cooking, dialect, and the sound of field cries, all expressing the complex resonances of the Lowcountry lifestyle.

Daughters of the Dust is set on Dawtuh, (Daughter) a small barrier island among the hundreds of Sea Islands along the coast of South Carolina and Georgia. Fearing the extreme conditions on the island: heat, insects, and the threat of yellow fever, landowners live across the river on the mainland. The inhabitants of Dawtuh, mainly African American, have remained isolated and insulated from the mainland since the very first African Captive was brought ashore.

At the heart of the film, Daughters of the Dust is a story about a family coming to grips with both the past and the precarious present. The film opens with the Peazant family contemplating and celebrating their decision to leave Ibo Landing, to embark upon a new life on the mainland. Nana Peazant the family matriarch refuses to leave because of her deep reverence for the island, the ancestors buried there, and a sense that the North will not be “the land of milk and honey” her progeny believe it will be.

The structure of the film follows the pattern of the West African Griot, a commissioned artist who recalls and recounts a family’s history for formal occasions. The story of the Peazant family is recalled, remembered, and recollected as a circular, non‐linear, dramatic narrative that evokes the oral tradition of ancient African storytellers.

The Peazants are the descendants of African captives who worked the indigo, rice, and cotton plantations during the period of slavery. These unique African Americans speak a distinct language called Gullah or Geechee. The women in the Peazant family carry inside their heads and pockets, scraps of memories, bits and pieces of family memorabilia left by their earliest remembered ancestors. Among those memories are recollections of a group of Ibo captives, who refusing to live enslaved, walked on top of ocean water to get back to Africa.

Cohen Media Group is proud to present the 25th anniversary restoration of director Julie Dash’s landmark film. The first wide release by a black female filmmaker, “Daughters of the Dust” was met with wild critical acclaim and rapturous audience response when it initially opened in 1991.

Casting a long legacy, “Daughters of the Dust” still resonates today, most recently as a major influence on Beyonce’s video album “Lemonade.”

Restored (in conjunction with UCLA) for the first time with proper color grading overseen by the film’s cinematographer AJ Jafa, audiences will finally see the film exactly as Julie Dash intended.

"Its examination of a bygone way of life is so patient and evocative, so beholden to its own storytelling conventions and rhythms, that watching it is a bit like submitting to a form of time travel."

Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

"Dash's boldly imaginative, ecstatically visionary drama ... is one of the best of all American independent films; she turns one family's experience of the Great Migration into a vast mythopoetic adventure."

Richard Brody, New Yorker

"Daughters of the Dust abounds with stunning motifs and tableaux, the iconography seemingly sourced from dreams as much as from history and folklore."

Melissa Anderson, Village Voice

Movie Info

DIRECTED BY Julie Dash
112 MINUTES

CINEMA ADMISSION:

REAL ART WAYS MEMBERS: $5
SENIOR & STUDENT MEMBERS: $4.50
REGULAR ADMISSION: $11
SENIORS (65+): $7
FULL-TIME STUDENTS (WITH ID): $7

REAL ART WAYS' FACILITIES ARE WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE. ASSISTED LISTENING DEVICES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE CAFÉ.