Review: Daughters of the Dust (Julie Dash, 1991)

Recently given a theatrical re-release in the UK by the British Film Institute, Julie Dash’s 1991 film Daughters of the Dust has been lovingly restored for its 25th anniversary by the Cohen Film Collection in the States, the results of which are now available on Netflix UK.

It’s a timely arrival in many ways, partially because the film was explicitly referenced in Beyoncé’s acclaimed 2016 HBO film/music video/visual album/what-have-you, Lemonade. More important, though, is its relevance to the increasing prominent discussion of inequality when it comes to the opportunities afforded to women filmmakers, particularly women filmmakers of colour. It wasn’t until 1991 that a film by an African-American female director received anything in the way of a wide theatrical release in the United States, and Daughters of the Dust was that landmark first film. Yet, despite doing pretty well at the box office for an independent film, and having been met with a good amount of critical acclaim, Dash has struggled to get another theatrical feature off the ground. At the time of writing, her filmography since Daughters of the Dust is made up entirely of shorts and TV movies, whether intended to debut on TV or not – there was also a 12-year gap between a short of hers that debuted in 2016 and one she made in 2004…

Full review for


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