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Daughters of the Dust

Dash’s restored masterpiece tells of three generations of women who grapple with the decision to leave their roots in the Sea Islands, off the coast of South Carolina.

Image from Daughters of the Dust

USA 1991
Dir Julie Dash
With Barbara-O, Alva Rogers, Cora Lee Day
Certificate 12A
A BFI release

Lovingly restored for its 25th anniversary, Julie Dash’s luminous masterpiece returns. Influenced by radical independent filmmaking, feminist aesthetics and African griot traditions, Dash’s captivating feature debut – the restoration of which premiered at last year’s BFI London Film Festival – is a genuine cinematic odyssey. Set in 1902 on the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina, the film is told through the perspectives of three generations of women in the Peazant family as they grapple with the decision to migrate north, leaving behind their well-preserved Gullah culture and a unique dialect inherited from their West African slave ancestors. Throughout, Dash allows the power, beauty and softness of black women room to flourish, with equal reverence given to the complexity of the black American experience. An avowed influence on Beyoncé’s album Lemonade, Daughters is a modern masterpiece that must be seen to be felt.

Tega Okiti, season curator

Also available on BFI Player from 19 June.

See our season Unbound: Visions of the black feminine.

Visit The Serpentine Galleries for the first solo exhibition of Arthur Jafa, cinematographer of Daughters in the Dust, from 8 June - 10 September.

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