It was called the movie of the year in 1991, and now it’s ready to remake history as one of the best period movies of our time. Daughters of the Dust was the inspiration for Beyonce’s Lemonade visual album which took the world by storm. Lemonade was the first of its kind, which is fitting as it was inspired by one of the greatest African-American migration films in history.
Daughters of the Dust comes back at a perfect time in our country. With a new president, some of the highest racial tensions in recent history, and a nation divided, all Americans could use a bit of a history lesson when it comes to our dark past. The film centers around an extended family looking to migrate from the Sea Islands off the coast of Georgia to the American mainland. The story follows the family of slaves as they endure hardship, seek freedom, and undergo the separation of the family as each member searches their own heart and soul to decide if they are ready for freedom.
Now over 20 years later, Tim Lanza, the archivist for Cohen Film Collection, has headed up the project to restore Daughters of the Dust to its ultimate potential. Lanza admitted that the original film had not been properly color graded, but that didn’t stop him and his team from restoring the film, paying close attention to skin tone stating, “The big issue for [writer/director] Julie and [cinematographer] A.J. was capturing the variety of African-American skin tones. That was not something presented in the first version available.”
If you had the pleasure of seeing the original, then you’ll be happy to know that the remastered version is soon on its way. If you have not had the pleasure, then make sure to grab a seat and enjoy what some call the best African-American migration masterpiece of all time.