Still riding high following our Certain Women convo and really excited for what next week has in store. I can only speak for my experience, but every week so far we’ve been watching movies I know less and less and less about. The only thing I know about Daughters of the Dust is the same fact that inspired me to select is as our next February watch — it is the first feature film directed by an African-American woman distributed theatrically in the United States. The space that modern directors like Ava DuVernay, Dee Rees, and soon-to-be-Oscar-Nominated-for-Best-Director Regina King occupy exists in part to directors like Dash* and the release of Daughters of the Dust is an emblematic moment in that history. It should be noted that, to quote Carina del Valle Schorske, “[The Film’s] power as a work of art about the stutter of migration and intergenerational communication both emerges from and exceeds this formidable historical distinction.”
I don’t have much more interesting to say about this movie, mostly because I haven’t seen it — However to contextualize the film’s impact I’d like to borrow a brief excerpt from Yvan Oliva’s “On ‘Daughters of the Dust’ and the Radical Reconceptualization of Black Female Iconography.“
Cinema is a language that is best suited to employ the dissatisfactions of the critical eye, of those who have felt their agency beset by mainstream cultural productions. What Dash does in her radical departure from traditional narrative structures not only opens up new lanes for Black American female identification, but also points to how limited the scope of the dominant white male gaze truly is.
P.S. Just a few other films you should check out if yr interested in being more aware of important Black Women in film: Losing Ground by Kathleen Collins, Just Another Girl on the I.R.T. by Leslie Harris, and The Watermelon Woman by Cheryl Dunye.
What else have you watched? If you watch any movies before our next meeting, drop a comment. I’m really looking forward to Judas and the Black Messiah and Minari finally hitting streaming (although Minari’s release structure is a little more involved than simply hitting Play or Rent).
I watched Ready Player One, and that movie sucks so hard in so many ways. Deaddovejokefromarresteddevelopment.jpg