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A landmark in the history of American independent cinema, Julie Dash's masterpiece was the first American feature directed by an African American woman to receive a general theatrical release.
The first American feature directed by an African American woman to receive a general theatrical release, Julie Dash's 1991 masterpiece announced a formidable new talent with its masterful interplay of mise en scène, symbolic markers and magical realist gestures. Set in 1902, the film focuses on an extended family of Gullah, descendants of African captives who escaped the slave trade to live on islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia. On the verge of moving the entire family to the American mainland, the many members of the Peazant clan clash over the meaning and implications of this crossing. Named to the Library of Congress' National Film Registry in 2004, Daughters of the Dust eloquently frames questions that have preoccupied many independent filmmakers of Dash's generation: the place of family and tradition in ameliorating historical wrongs, the hope of spiritual escape from a history of trauma, and the elusive possibility of finding deliverance together.