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Emilia Clarke Goes Solo, Daughters of the Dust Starts Getting its Due, & The Crow Flies

By  · Published on November 19th, 2016

Movie News After Dark

The day’s top headlines in bite-size portions.

Just as the sun was setting, the day’s biggest news broke: Emilia Clarke, star of HBO’s Game of Thrones for the three of you who don’t know, has just been cast as the female lead in the as-yet untitled Han Solo spinoff film from Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The Lego Movie). Scores of actresses were testing for the lead, including Tessa Thompson (Creed), Kiersey Clemons (Dope), Zoe Kravitz (Mad Max: Fury Road) and Jessica Henswick (also of Game of Thrones), but when the stardust settled, Clarke was the victor. She’ll join Alden Ehrenreich (Hail! Caesar), who’s playing Solo, and Donald Glover (Atlanta), who’s playing Lando Calrissian, in an undisclosed role. The film, which is set before the events of A New Hope, is slated for release May 25h, 2018. Expectations couldn’t be any higher.

When Beyonce conquered the culture earlier this year by dropping her Lemonade visual album, many top critics noticed how parts of it bore striking visual resemblance to Daughters of the Dust, the 1991 film by Julie Dash that was the first feature directed by an African-American woman to be distributed theatrically in the United States. Most of you are probably wondering why then you haven’t heard of such a film, and that’s owed to the size and duration of that theatrical run ‐ small and brief ‐ a prestige but still-small DVD press by Kino, and general cultural ignorance towards media made by minority voices.

Daughters of the Dust tells an esoteric story of Gullah women at the turn of the 20th century. The Gullah were a small community of former slaves from West Africa who lived on islands off the coast of South Carolina and maintained many of their original culture’s observances and practices, developing one of the most unique and also ignored groups in American history. Dash’s film seems to mirror the exclusivity of the community by alternating the internal perspectives and keeping to the Gullah language, which is a mixture of English, African, and French patois. It is a remarkable film that boasts intelligent filmmaking and storytelling, and of it Roger Ebert wrote that Dash “makes this many stories about many families, and through it we understand how African-American families persisted against slavery, and tried to be true to their memories.

Daughters of the Dust should be taught in every single American high school in my opinion, and the fact that it isn’t better-known (despite being a standout at Sundance in ’91 and entering the National Film registry in 2004) is a cultural crime. But now thanks in part to the interest generated by Queen Bey’s homage, the film has received a sweet 4k restoration and is hitting theaters again today. Granted, the only theater it’s hitting is the Film Forum in New York City ‐ where it premiered 25 years ago ‐ but a restoration is bound to lead to a new home release (which I once begged Criterion for) so this is a win-win for all of us. If you’re in NYC, you owe it to yourself to try and snag a seat at the Film Forum. For the rest of us, check out the restoration trailer, dig the beautiful new poster, read this piece on the film and interview with Dash that ran in Rolling Stone today, and pray to have a copy in your hands soon.

Speaking of films getting released into theaters today, other titles include Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them which our own Tomris Laffly reviewed, The Edge of Seventeen written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, whosat down for a discussion with Victor Stiff, and Bleed For This, which Matthew Monagle had some thoughts about.

The upcoming Crow reboot starring Jason Momoa is starting to feel more like a cruel joke every time you hear about it. Whatever momentum got it greenlit evaporated soon thereafter, and it was in stasis for nearly a year after its original studio, Relativity, filed for bankruptcy. The company ended up for sale, and last we heard they were searching for a roost for The Crow, as it was considered one of their most valuable remaining possessions. They’ve found that home now, and with it comes confirmation of a title, but not of whether Momoa (Justice League) and director Corin Hardy (The Hallow) remain attached.

The film is going to be called The Crow Reborn ‐ nice title for a flick about a resurrected dead guy ‐ and the new owners are a trio of companies: Davis Films, Highland Film Group, and Electric Shadows. Producing will be Edward R. Pressman, who also produced the original, Brandon Lee film, and Davis Films’ Samuel Hadida, who also produced the Resident Evil and Silent Hill franchises. Rumor has it that cameras are supposed to start rolling in 2017, but I’d wait a sec before I start holding my breath. THR broke the story.

And lastly, the folks behind Black Mirror must be pretty confident in both their home at Netflix and our unwavering commitment to streaming, because today they tweeted the following “advertisement” for a new service called Netflix Vista, which beams the media directly into your eyeballs. Naturally, this is tongue-in-cheek fun, but considering that Black Mirror is basically about how technology can destroy your life, what exactly is the message they’re trying to send? Seems to me like: we got you and you know it. Anyway, it’s still a pretty cool slice of dystopia, check it out before starting your weekend binge.

That’s all the news that’s fit to print, have a good weekend and check back in Monday night for more Movie News After Dark.

Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist