Daughters of the Dust


Sunday, Nov. 13 at 8:00pm
Tivoli Theatre

As a nod to our past on SLIFF’s 25th anniversary, the fest spotlights a freshly restored edition of “Daughters of the Dust.” Julie Dash’s widely hailed classic — the inspiration for Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” — helped inaugurate the fest in memorably grand fashion during our first year. At the dawn of the 20th century, a multigenerational family in an isolated Gullah community suffers a generational split. Former West African slaves, the Gullahs — who live in the Sea Islands off South Carolina — adopted many of their ancestors' Yoruba traditions and speak their own unique Creole language. When an older group of sisters visit home after their migration north to New York, the newly Americanized women — who view the Gullahs’ way of living as backwards — are intent on bringing the rest of the family with them on their return to the mainland. Nana, the family elder who embodies the traditions and folklore of their African roots, opposes the sisters’ plans, struggling to keep the family together and to pass on the knowledge of their ancestors. On its original release, “Daughters of the Dust” was hailed by the Washington Post as “an African-American family heirloom, a gorgeously impressionistic history of the Gullah people,” and the New York Times called it “a film of spellbinding visual beauty.”