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      Daughters of the Dust

      Released Dec 27, 1991 1 hr. 54 min. Drama List
      94% 83 Reviews Tomatometer 66% 1,000+ Ratings Audience Score At the dawn of the 20th century, a family in the Gullah community of coastal South Carolina -- former West African slaves who adopted many of their ancestors' Yoruba traditions -- suffers a generational split. Young Haagar (Kaycee Moore) wants to move to the mainland away from tradition-bound matriarch Nana (Cora Lee Day). Former prostitute Yellow Mary (Barbara-O) gets a cold shoulder when she returns to the island with her female lover, especially from her sister Viola (Cheryl Lynn Bruce). Read More Read Less

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      Daughters of the Dust

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      Daughters of the Dust

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      Critics Consensus

      Daughters of the Dust addresses its weighty themes with lovely visuals and a light, poetic touch, offering an original, absorbing look at a largely unexplored corner of American culture.

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      Audience Reviews

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      david f This independent film about a community living on the islands off southeastern America around the turn of the century tells a moving and emotionally fraught story about leaving home and moving out. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Although the island on which the Peazant family lives barely looks disconnected from "the mainland" on a map, in 1902 South Carolina, it is worlds apart. Moving from one landmass to the other is the central point of conflict in Daughters of the Dust. Interest in the Gullah-Geechee culture is what made me add this to my watch-list, as I'm especially fond of Beaufort, South Carolina and its environs. Generational change is not a new concept in American storytelling, but it's especially interesting here, as we view issues concerning religion traditional Christianity, syncretic Christianity, and even a dabble of Islam with Bilal (Umar Abdurrahman), prosperity and integration vs. modesty and tradition, interracial-love, homosexuality, colorism, and identity when it comes to a history of slavery — "When you leave this island, you ain't goin' to no land of milk and honey," says Nana Peazant (Cora Lee Day), you can imagine which side of Go v. Stay she's on. These are plot threads that most viewers would find interesting, but the film demands a concentration I don't think most of those same viewers possess — it's boring, to put it frankly. The only burst of energy we get comes from Eula (Alva Rogers) on the beach, but by this time in the film, you're not exactly sure what she's yelling about. Don't get me wrong, I very much appreciate the on-location filming and the authentic dialogue, but the non-linear plot added to the already mentioned level of concentration doesn't make it the easiest watch — even Roger Ebert had his difficulties: "The fact that some of the dialogue is deliberately difficult is not frustrating, but comforting; we relax like children at a family picnic, not understanding everything, but feeling at home with the expression of it." I disagree. The less I understand, the less I care. I was actually shocked to learn that this was an original script and not based on a novel — this sort of story lends itself to the novel form. I could've gone for more shots of the wild horses, Mt. Rushmore of animals you want to see in movies. I can recommend this for those who have a deep interest in Gullah culture (in which case, you've probably already seen it), or if you're in the mood for a slow-cooked, meat-falling-off-the-bone-tender movie. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/01/23 Full Review charlie l Surprisingly incoherent and bland given the subject matter. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Wonderful movie Beautiful movie Rated 5 out of 5 stars 12/16/20 Full Review s r Too artsy for me, I had a tough time getting into it. Rated 1.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member "Daughters of the Dust" is slice-of-life drama, a period piece about heritage, and a portrait of a culture few people have even heard of. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/27/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

      Critics Reviews

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      Judy Gerstel Detroit Free Press Writer-producer-director Julie Dash has taken extraordinary risks. The movie develops and grows and swells into something remarkable and alive, like an idea or a feeling or a child in the womb. Rated: 4/4 Mar 23, 2021 Full Review Patricia Smith Boston Globe Let's thank Julie Dash for her persistence in bringing us this jewel. This is a story we will tell our children again and again -- and with each retelling, the colors will swell in our souls. Mar 23, 2021 Full Review Eleanor Ringel Cater Atlanta Journal-Constitution An Atlanta-based artist making her long-worked-for feature debut, Ms. Dash is a filmmaker of startling originality and delicacy. Her film is poetry in motion, part dream-memory, part tattered family album. Mar 23, 2021 Full Review Paul Kanieski KSQD Community Radio Daughters of the Dust is fictional, but inspired by Dash’s own family history it feels deeply personal. Jul 21, 2023 Full Review Dennis Schwartz Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews An amazing first feature by director-writer Julie Dash. Rated: A Apr 10, 2023 Full Review Annlee Ellingson CineWomen Submerges viewers in another place and another time. Aug 17, 2022 Full Review Read all reviews

      Movie Info

      Synopsis At the dawn of the 20th century, a family in the Gullah community of coastal South Carolina -- former West African slaves who adopted many of their ancestors' Yoruba traditions -- suffers a generational split. Young Haagar (Kaycee Moore) wants to move to the mainland away from tradition-bound matriarch Nana (Cora Lee Day). Former prostitute Yellow Mary (Barbara-O) gets a cold shoulder when she returns to the island with her female lover, especially from her sister Viola (Cheryl Lynn Bruce).
      Director
      Julie Dash
      Screenwriter
      Julie Dash
      Distributor
      Kino International
      Production Co
      American Playhouse, WMG Film, Geechee Girls
      Genre
      Drama
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Dec 27, 1991, Original
      Rerelease Date (Theaters)
      Nov 18, 2016
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Apr 11, 2017
      Box Office (Gross USA)
      $41.0K
      Sound Mix
      Ultra-Stereo
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