Screening Dates
  • January 18 (Thursday) 7:00

Dash’s visionary visual marriage between Afrocentric aesthetics and the rich emotional depth of Black womanhood is a cinematic triumph … [It] remains an enduring symphony that sings, reframes, and reignites a Black girl’s song.”

Maya S. Cade, Sight and Sound

The fact that Julie Dash’s debut feature now ranks alongside La dolce vita in Sight and Sounds best-of-all-time poll demonstrates just how iconic, how culturally unignorable, her landmark independent film has justifiably become. The first full-length picture by an African American woman to receive theatrical distribution in the States—a milestone as impressive as it was appallingly overdue—Daughters of the Dust tells a dreamy, dawn-of-the-20th-century tale of a matriarchal Gullah family, long rooted in South Carolina’s Afrocentric Sea Islands, as it prepares to migrate north to the mainland. Dash unfurls the work as a reverie on Black diaspora, narrated by an unborn child and carried by lush, evocative images shaped more by interiority than story. Arthur Jafa, co-producer and cinematographer, took top prize at Sundance for his virtuosic camerawork. The film’s legacy was sealed when Beyoncé’s visual album Lemonade drew much of its visuality from Dash’s groundbreaking achievement.

In Gullah and English with English subtitles

Daughters of the Dust will be introduced by Stephanie Bokenfohr, the Vancouver Art Gallery’s public programs coordinator, and Kika Memeh, the Gallery’s public programs assistant.

Julie Dash’s boldly imaginative, ecstatically visionary drama is one of the best of all American independent films … The intimate action shimmers with mysteries and myths.” Richard Brody, The New Yorker

A film of spellbinding visual beauty.” Stephen Holden, The New York Times

Presented in conjunction with the Vancouver Art Gallery exhibition Conceptions of White (September 9–February 4), which includes the video work The White Album (2018) by Arthur Jafa.

Conceptions of White is organized and circulated by the MacKenzie Art Gallery in partnership with the Art Museum at the University of Toronto and curated by John G. Hampton and Lillian O’Brien Davis. Circulated with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

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