Languid look at the Gullah culture of the sea islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia where African folk-ways were maintained well into the 20th Century and was one of the last ...
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Languid look at the Gullah culture of the sea islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia where African folk-ways were maintained well into the 20th Century and was one of the last bastions of these mores in America. Set in 1902.Written by
John Sacksteder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Selected to the Library of Congress National Registry of Film in 2004. See more »
I am the first and the last. I am the honored one and the scorned one. I am the whore and the holy one. I am the wife and the virgin. I am the barren one and many are my daughters. I am the silence that you can not understand. I am the utterance of my name.
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Daughters of the Dust directed by Julie Dash is a cultural perspective look into the lives of an African American family left on an island years after being torn from their heritage of Africa for slavery only to have revolted and be left to themselves, stranded on the island off the coast of the Southern eastern coast and the family who live off the island with others who long to find their heritage. The film's story line is developed in the one day where the family is getting ready to head to a new world on the main land. The internal conflict of the family between relatives who no longer live on the island who have become part of the culture of America post civil war and the family left on the island that live by the old heritage and customs. The family on the island struggle between their history and culture to the change of the times and the need for conformity. This film centers on the generations of the family from the young children who are filled with life then to the adults who are torn between their decisions to leave to finally the center character, the elder grandmother of the family Nana. Nana's ways and beliefs that have been accepted by the family their entire lives are now the only thing holding the family back from their future off the island. The film focuses largely on the women of the family, displaying the differences of ones who that have lived on the island and then those whom have lived off it. The lines divided between the two are evidently shown throughout the film. The women who lived off the island no longer take to heart their heritage that Nana lives by. They find it to be uncivilized and against the teaching of the bible. There is the scene in which the family after much struggle and torment accept Nana's decision to stay and her heritage. The scene is of the entire family gathered around the grandmother in which she has a lock of her hair and others placed on a bible asking everyone to believe in the old ways and take her with her by kissing the hair and bible. Finally, the scene acts as importance because one of the outside family members whom diligently preaches and believes in Christianity gives in to Nana's request.
Daughters of the Dust cannot be explained without stating the mise en cinema. From the clothing to the shots of the landscape of the island all resemble the time and place of the film. Not only the background and clothes, but also the character themselves turn this limited distributed film into a believable representation of what people of this time would act and be. The storyline background of the slavery uprising actually having taken place on the island gives it enormous creditability. The shots of the island start the creditability of the film with shots of the women interacting with the water of the ocean and the rivers, the shots of the forest and trees, and finally the most significant may be when the women are preparing the dinner showing how their food is prepared with live seafood and spices gathered from the island. The mise en cinema is creditable because of the clothes as well; from Nana who has only a dress is indigo, which was the main produce to harvest by the slaves on the island to the white Victorian dress of the women from the main land.
Dash's Daughters of the Dust cannot be denied as a cultural perspective that's originality has touched on the transition to the new culture of African Americans and they past that many have forgotten after the postwar civil war era. Its cultural insight may have been directed to a certain selected target audience, but its look into the heritage of the people cannot be viewed as anything but a respectable insight of the times.
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