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9:30 only

Must End Thursday, December 15

Written and Directed by Julie Dash


25 years after its world theatrical premiere at Film Forum, Julie Dash’s groundbreaking DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST returns in a stunning new restoration. Set in the legendary Sea Islands off the South Carolina/Georgia coast in 1902, the film follows a Gullah family (descendants of West African slaves) on the eve of its migration to the North. Led by a group of women who carry with them ancient African traditions, the extended family readies itself to leave behind friends, loved ones and their insulated way of life. Can these women hold fast to their sacred religious beliefs and customs, or will they be swept into the race toward an era of science and industry? This richly costumed drama, structured in tableaux to reflect the art and icons of African tradition, testifies movingly to the secret celebrations and packed-away sorrows of African-American women. These vital images were introduced to a new generation on a massive scale earlier this year, when the film was heavily referenced in Beyoncé’s visual album, Lemonade



Read interviews with Julie Dash in The New York Times and Village Voice.

“A film of spellbinding visual beauty.”
– Stephen Holden, The New York Times

“This dreamlike, sonically and visually lush project about several generations of Gullah women at the turn of the twentieth century inspired Beyoncé, who lovingly salutes it in Lemonade. The film’s re-release guarantees a new generation of super-fans to share her devotion.” 
– Melissa Anderson, Village Voice

“Julie Dash’s boldly imaginative , ecstatically visionary drama, from 1991, 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… Dash plots family relationships with a novelistic intensity and observes the cultural interweave of Christianity, Islam, African and Native American religions, mysticism, and politics with luminous lyricism and hypnotic pageantry. The intimate action shimmers with mysteries and myths.”
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“Haunting, spellbinding, and altogether extraordinary. The breadth of its ambition, the boldness of its vision, are reminiscent of the work of such European masters of cinematic allusiveness as Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni. And yet in content and style it is definitively, exuberantly African American. Years from now, cultural historians may well regard DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST as the point when black filmmakers began to grab hold of a distinctive voice uniquely their own.  (Makes) you believe once again in the power of film to transform the way the outside world looks. There is something both daringly new and resonantly old about how director Julie Dash, in her first feature, tells this story.”
– Gene Seymour, Newsday (1992)

Film Forum