A Zoom Salon of Daughters of the Dust (1991) 112 min | Mechanics' Institute

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A Zoom Salon of Daughters of the Dust (1991) 112 min
August 2020 -Black Lives in Film

CinemaLit Popcorn Pop-Up Salon: August -- Black Lives in Film

Hello Film Lovers,

Welcome back to CinemaLit! We have missed our Friday night gatherings. Laura, Pam, and I are excited to launch this new format for CinemaLit as we Shelter at Home. We will be viewing films on Kanopy and gathering online for a Popcorn Pop-Up Salon!

All you will need is either a Mechanics' Institute library card, or a San Francisco Public Library card, which will give you access to Kanopy and its treasure trove of movies. Make a reservation as usual via Eventbrite and watch the film on Kanopy at your leisure. You will receive a link to the Friday night CinemaLit salon on Zoom two days in advance. On the night of the salon click the Zoom link and join us.

If you do not receive a Zoom Link by the day of the event, contact Pam Troy at [email protected]


Mechanics’ Institute members can now sign up for FREE access to Kanopy, a wonderful film streaming service. To sign up:

1. Click on  THIS LINK.

2. Click on the large orange login button that reads, “Log in to milibrary.”

3. Enter the 14-digit bar code from your MI Library card

4. Set up your account following Kanopy’s instructions, including your email and a password.

5. Kanopy will send verification to your email address.

You’ll be able to choose from a wonderful selection of films, including classics, pre-code, foreign films, and documentaries, including the films we’ve scheduled this month for CinemaLit.

If you are not a Mechanics’ Institute member, consider membership and click  HERE  to join online:

Or, you can check with your public library to see if they are Kanopy members. If so, you may use your public library card to set up a Kanopy account.

 Matthew Kennedy, curator and host

CinemaLit Film Series

August 2020: Black Lives in Film

"Black Lives in Film" is the August theme at CinemaLit. We're screening documentaries on the lives of two pioneering African Americans, author-poet-visionary James Baldwin (I Am Not Your Negro, 2016) and US Congresswoman and presidential candidate Shirley Chisholm (Chisholm '72: Unbought and Unbossed, 2004). Additionally, we're showing two feature films – 1991's groundbreaking Daughters of the Dust and 2019's acclaimed The Last Black Man in San Francisco.

CinemaLit is honored to welcome British-born and raised attorney and film critic Omar Moore as guest host for the August 7 discussion of I Am Not Your Negro. Omar is founder of the film essay website The Popcorn Reel where "tasty film talk" is the order of the day. He is a member of the San Francisco Bay Area Film Critics Circle and a former contributing film critic for the PBS television program "Roger Ebert Presents At The Movies". He is the host of The Politicrat, a daily podcast that focuses on contemporary politics as we move toward Election 2020. He can be read in numerous places including Medium. Omar can also be found tweeting about film, politics, and more on Twitter: @thepopcornreel. For more information about Omar, please visit ebertpresents.com.

August 14 - Daughters of the Dust (1991)

Some films demand the audience abandon expectations. There's no pandering, no concessions for familiar pace, structure, dialogue, plot, or outcome. Daughters of the Dust is such a film. Immerse yourself in the world director-screenwriter Julie Dash and company create, and leave with an appreciation of film's still unmet potential to tell a myriad of human stories.

The Peazant family has lived for generations on Dawtuh, a small isolated barrier island off the coast of Georgia. Descendants of West Africans captured and brought to America as slaves, they gather for a reunion, and to mark a momentous occasion for the family. It's 1902, and they are preparing to leave the island for a new life on the mainland. The actors speak in Gullah dialect, and it's okay to miss words and phrases. Dash is striving for authenticity, not total comprehension. Told in a languid style to suit the Atlantic humidity, the film is dominated by the women kinfolk. They are not characters drawn from a western notion of storytelling, but as metaphoric figures of Kikongo, Yoruba, Mende, and Twi myth.

Daughters of the Dust is incandescently beautiful. Every frame of its white sand beaches, shimmering ocean, and swaying tall grasses draws us into the lost world of the Gullah. As the first feature film directed by an African American woman to receive general theatrical distribution, its historical, artistic, and cultural significance is recognized. Daughters of the Dust has been restored at the UCLA Film Archive, is included in the prestigious National Film Registry, and was an influence on Beyoncé's signature album "Lemonade."  


Curated by Matthew Kennedy

Matthew Kennedy, CinemaLit’s curator, has written biographies of Marie Dressler, Joan Blondell, and Edmund Goulding. His book Roadshow! The Fall of Film Musicals in the 1960s, was the basis of a film series on Turner Classic Movies. 

I don't have a favorite film,” Matthew says. "I find that my relationships to films, actors, genres, and directors change as I change over the years. Some don't hold up. Some look more profound, as though I've caught up with their artistry. I feel that way about Garbo, Cary Grant, director John Cassavetes, and others."

Classic films have historical context, something only time can provide,” Matt observes. “They become these great cultural artifacts, so revealing of tastes, attitudes, and assumptions.”

Register with Eventbrite below.

If the green TICKET button is not immediately visible, scroll down on the right in the Eventbrite window until it appears


CinemaLit Films

Members Free
Public Free
Register now ›
Pam Troy - 415-393-0116
Register now by using the form below or calling .

Future CinemaLit Films

Jan 15 - 6:00pm

Zoom Salon - Sherlock Jr. (1924) 46 min
January 2021 CinemaLit: Golden Silents

Jan 22 - 6:00pm

Zoom Salon - La Roue (1923) 268 min
January 2021 CinemaLit: Golden Silents

Jan 29 - 6:00pm

Zoom Salon - Modern Times (1936) – 88 minutes
January 2021 CinemaLit: Golden Silents

Feb 5 - 6:00pm

Zoom Salon - Lorraine Hansberry Sighted Eyes / Feeling Heart (2017) – 117 minutes
February 2021 CinemaLit: In Celebration of Black History Month, Black Lives on Film 2

Feb 12 - 6:00pm

Zoom Salon - Anita Speaking Truth to Power (2013) – 77 minutes
February 2021 CinemaLit: In Celebration of Black History Month, Black Lives on Film 2

Feb 19 - 6:00pm

Zoom Salon - Moonlight (2016) – 111 minutes
February 2021 CinemaLit: In Celebration of Black History Month, Black Lives on Film 2