A 2021 Film Journey: Day 57

Do you ever decide you need to take a quick nap, so you set an alarm for 40 minutes and then next thing you know four hours have gone by? Well anyway, it’s almost midnight and I’ve only watched one film, so despite my best effort tonight is going to be another short entry. Thankfully tomorrow is the weekend and I have no work obligations, so expect a longer post tomorrow.

Daughters of the Dust (1991, Dir. Julie Dash)

I Am the First and the Last”: Julie Dash's DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST | by Bryn  Mawr Film Institute | Medium

I worry a little that my brain only being half awake for this film may have hampered some of my enjoyment of the film. Make no mistake, I both liked this film and think it was quite good, but there were some parts that left me a little confused. Much of that is likely due to the scope of the film. It follows many different characters, some of whose plot points are only tangentially related. That combined with the thick creole accent throughout was a lot to ask of my exhausted brain tonight.

While my exhaustion may have gotten prevented me from appreciating Daughters of the Dust as much as I could, I still enjoyed it plenty despite my tired stupor. What stands out the most is the striking beauty of the film. The film has a warm hue that makes each character pop when on screen. The women’s primarily white clothing pops throughout even when the characters are covered in dirt from the work they do on the island. From a thematic standpoint, I really appreciated what director Julie Dash managed to do with the concept of family. Yellow Mary (Barbarao) has been outcast by her family, but she still feels a connection to them. Conversely, the matriarch Nana (Cora Lee Day) is well loved, but prepares to say goodbye to her family as they all leave her behind on the island where they all lived. Every interaction in the film comes back to the family dynamic and how nothing is straightforward or easy.

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