Daughters Of The Dust

daughters-of-the-dustRelease Date:  11/18/16; Re-Release In Theaters
(Original Release Date: December 1991)
Genre:   Drama
Rating:  NR
Running Time:  112 mins.
Director:  Julie Dash
Studio:   American Playhouse, Geechee Girls, WMG Film, Kino International

Cast:  Cora Lee Day (Nana Peazant), Alva Rogers (Eula Peazant), Barbarao (Yellow Mary), Trula Hoosier (Trula), Umar Abdurrahamn (Bilal Muhammad), Adisa Anderson (Eli Peazant), Kaycee Moore (Haagar Peazant), Bahni Turpin (Iona Peazant), Cheryl Lynn Bruce (Viola Peazant), Tommy Redmond Hicks (Mr. Snead).

Story:  Daughters of the Dust is a drama about the struggle between tradition and progress. Set in the early 1900s, it is the story of the Pazants on the eve of the family’s migration from their Sea Island home to the mainland, leaving their land and legacy behind. Nana Pazant, the eighty-eight-year-old matriarch of the family, fights to keep the family she raised together on the island to maintain the traditions handed down by her African ancestors. Eula, her granddaughter, is pregnant with the baby of a man whom her husband believes raped her. Haagar Pazant would like to throw off the traditions of the past for the opportunities of the future which await her and her family in the North. She wishes to establish herself as the family matriarch of the New World. Cousin Yellow Mary has returned from Cuba “ruint.” but on this eve of departure, she comes to reclaim her family place.

Daughters of the Dust is the first dramatic feature film to explore the traditions of the Gullah, the descendants of African slaves who once worked the indigo, rice and cotton plantations and later inhabited the many islands dotting the South Carolina and Georgia coastlines. These African Americans speak with a distinct accent known as “Gullah” or “Geechee.”  Ms. Dash, herself a descendant of the Gullah, drew heavily from their oral traditions and extensively researched her ancestors for five years with the assistance of Geechee scholar Margaret Washington Creel. Thus, the film represents a historical document.  Source:  Sundance.org.


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