I suppose there are a few black people who have yet to see Julie Dash’s 1991 film “Daughters of the Dust”; and if there are, I just haven’t met them yet.
A film that can be legitimately called “one of the most significant films of the last quarter century of cinema” (without “Daughter” there would have been no Beyonce’s “Lemonade”), “Dust” made a triumphant return to the big screen last year in celebration of the 25th anniversary of its first release.
The film, which was the first American film made by an African-American female filmmaker to get a wide theatrical release, played to acclaim last year at the Cannes, Toronto and Chicago film festivals, screening from a new 2K restoration (supervised by cinematographer Arthur Jafa), making the film even more beautiful that it already was.
Set in the early 1900s, “Daughters” is a vivid portrait of Gullah Geechee culture – communities descended from enslaved Africans who settled along the coast and Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia. The film captures the last gathering of the Peazant family, as the younger generation prepares to leave the island and their matriarch, Nana Peazant (Cora Lee Day), for the promise of the mainland.
Along with the stunning color cinematography by Jafa, the evocative production design was by the now widely heralded and acclaimed artist, Kerry James Marshall.
Earlier this year, the theatrical and DVD releasing company, the Cohen Media Group, who was responsible for the new restoration of “Daughters”, announced that they would be releasing the film sometime in 2017, on blu-ray for the first time.
Now the indie distributor has announced that the film will be released on blu-ray on April 11th, along with a wealth of special features including an Interview with director Julie Dash and Dr. Stephane Dunn (director of Cinema, Television, and Emerging Media Studies at Morehouse College); a Q&A session with director Julie Dash and actress Cheryl Bruce taped last year at the Chicago International Film Festival, moderated by actress Regina Taylor; an Interview with cinematographer Arthur Jafa; and an audio commentary by director Julie Dash and Michelle Materre (Associate Professor of Media Studies and Film at the New School in New York).
Surely the long awaited blu-ray release of this new stunning restoration of this seminal film, is one of major releases of the year.