Your Company

Daughters of the Dust

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

United Kingdom, United States · 1991
1h 52m
Director Julie Dash
Starring Cora Lee Day, Alva Rogers, Barbarao, Trula Hoosier
Genre Drama, Romance

In the sea islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia, a family from the Gullah community-- former West African slaves who maintained many of their ancestor’s traditions-- experiences a generational split. At the dawn of the twentieth century, some members long to move North, while others refuse to leave their community behind.

Stream Daughters of the Dust

What are people saying?

Melanie Greenberg Profile picture for Melanie Greenberg

Such a beautiful reclamation of culture and re-imagining of how we tell our histories! Period pieces should take more inspiration from this.

What are critics saying?


TV Guide Magazine by

Releasing one's self to the new rhythm of this film can be difficult; the story is allusive, the Island history sketchy, and the precise relationships of the family members undefined. Yet, if her suggestive presentation escapes straightforward analysis, one cannot help but be mesmerized by Dash's unique vision.


Chicago Tribune by Clifford Terry

Throughout the film, cinematographer Arthur Jafa brings in lovely, imaginative photography, showing a remarkable eye for light and composition, while Dash provides crisp, sensitive direction in putting together a moving work about a simple but proud people immersed in a distinct culture and ritual as they try to "touch their own spirits."


Los Angeles Times by Kenneth Turan

A poetic attempt to re-create a bygone culture as not only a role model for the present but also a positive mythology for the future, the movie's strong visual qualities and epic emotions make it a bracing remedy to swallow.


Boston Globe by Patricia Smith

"Daughters" has a gorgeous, overwhelming sense of place. It is almost startlingly beautiful, blessed with deep fiery hues and a poetic sensibility. It is a film made stronger by its belief in itself, and it challenges its audience to believe also.... But because "Daughters" is so gloriously textured, its rewards are many. [20 Mar 1992, p.30]


The Globe and Mail (Toronto) by Rick Groen

Daughters of the Dust is hypnotic, flowing with the trance-like rhythms of a poem that is beautifully written yet deliberately arcane. It's the cinematic equivalent of the voices you hear in the fiction of Toni Morrison or Alice Walker, but without the connecting narrative thread that most novels possess and most movies imitate. The result is a difficult work, yet a haunting one. [29 May 1992]


Washington Post by Rita Kempley

In the hands of director Julie Dash and photographer Arthur Jafa, this nonlinear film becomes visual poetry, a wedding of imagery and rhythm that connects oral tradition with the music video. It is an astonishing, vivid portrait not only of a time and place, but of an era's spirit.


Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert

The film doesn't tell a story in any conventional sense. It tells of feelings. At certain moments we are not sure exactly what is being said or signified, but by the end we understand everything that happened - not in an intellectual way, but in an emotional way.


The New York Times by Stephen Holden

For all its harsh allusions to slavery and hardship, the film is an extended, wildly lyrical meditation on the power of African cultural iconography and the spiritual resilience of the generations of women who have been its custodians.