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All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt

Directed by Raven Jackson
Produced by Barry Jenkins, Adele Romanski, Mark Ceryak, and Maria Altamirano
Written by Raven Jackson
With: Charleen McClure, Moses Ingram, Reginald Helms Jr., Zainab Jah, Sheila Atim, and Chris Chalk
Cinematography: Jomo Fray
Editing: Lee Chatametikool
Music: Sasha Gordon and Victor Magro
Runtime: 92 min
Release Date: 22 December 2023
Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1
Color: Color

Raven Jackson's debut feature is an expressive, elliptical film that unfolds like a memory. It tells the story of an African American woman growing up in rural Mississippi. The film's vibe is almost like as if Hale County This Morning, The Evening was a fictional narrative about one family. But unlike RaMell Ross's 2018 observational documentary, Jackson is telling a story (kind of) rather than giving an impression of a place and people. Also unlike the uniquely visual Hale County, nearly every frame in All Dirt Roads is "composed" in frustratingly tight, handheld, anamorphic shots. Why? Why do so many filmmakers these days shoot their tone poems movies in this maddening style? Is it meant to make the few times the camera lingers on an image where we can actually see the characters in relation to their environment land with more power? Is constantly focusing on figures and knuckles and elbows and fabrics meant to evoke the sensation of recalling the past? If that's the case, what's with the album cover shot of all the folks sitting in the big tree?


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Raven Jackson's debut gives us glimpses of a woman's life growing up in the rural South. As a tone poem, it's more Upstream Color than Daughters of the Dust.