A poignant portrait of three generations of Gullah women (descendants of West African enslaved people) who grapple with the decision to migrate from their island home off the coast of South Carolina to the mainland. Julie Dash’s groundbreaking first feature returns restored and colour graded under the supervision of the film’s cinematographer, Arthur Jafa, a modern masterpiece that must be seen to be felt.
Influenced by radical independent filmmaking, feminist aesthetics and African griot traditions, Dash’s captivating feature debut remains urgent, poetic and continues to resonate; influencing a great number of works including Kasi Lemmons' Eve's Bayou the Antebellum Georgia television series Underground and most recently, inspiring the film work that accompanied Beyoncé’s Lemonade.
Set in 1902 on the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina, at a pivotal moment in American history, three generations of women in the Pezant family grapple with the decision to migrate north, leaving behind their well-preserved Gullah culture and a unique dialect inherited from their West African ancestors. Fifteen years in the making, it was the first by an African-American woman director to get national distribution in 1992, new ground in its representation of black women on screen.
With thanks to BFI.