09 20 Oct '24
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Raven Jackson

All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt

92' - 2023 - Drama - Dialogue: English
Director: Raven Jackson Composer: Sasha Gordon, Victor Magro With: Charleen McClure, Reginald Helms, Jr., Moses Ingram, Chris Chalk, Jayah Henry
In All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt, an African-American woman from Mississippi moves gently through a poetic mosaic of memories Raven Jackson's feature-length debut is like a rough diamond refracting light in soft colours.

A fragile collection of delicate vignettes, though the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

In bits and pieces, patiently and from up close, All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt weaves together the portrait of an African-American woman named Mackenzie, or in short. Her stream of thoughts, sometimes clear, sometimes murky, takes the viewer from Mackenzie's birth to adulthood. Mack grows up during the 1970s with her sister Josie in rural Mississippi, where people seem made of earth and water, passed down from generation to generation. "Not just earth," their grandmother clarifies, "you have to find the right bank and dig for it." Anchored in the landscape, the sisters learn from their father how to catch fish and from their mother how to skin them. Mack's memories of family, friendship, love and grief flow into each other.

All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt marks the delicate feature debut of Raven Jackson, who took her first steps as a director-screenwriter in 2018 with the award-winning short film Nettles. Jackson is also a photographer and poet. Her films are naturally bathed in poetry and find inspiration in photography, in this case a series of photos she took of her parents. Jackson plucked the title from a poem she wrote in 2015 after a conversation with her grandmother about the custom among black women in rural southern American of eating clay soil together. A tradition that can be traced back to West Africa. Just like in Nettles - divided into six small chapters - Jackson decided to play with narrative structure here, assisted by Apichatpong Weerasethakul's editor Lee Chatametikool. From this, a fragile anthology of delicate vignettes is born, though the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

Co-produced by Barry Jenkins and well received ar the Sundance Film Festival, All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt thrives on fragile close-ups and long-held shots, like an intimate embrace with someone you don't want to let go. Rather than with words, characters speak in verses of gestures and glances. On the soundtrack, a symphony of crickets, rain and other sounds of nature rhymes wonderfully with a hint of orchestral music and some nostalgic records from Mack's past. This is cinema that whispers, caresses, cradles and anoints.

“Raven Jackson started out as a poet, a background that is at the heart of her eloquent, imagistic first feature. All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt presents the life of a Black woman in the rural South through elegantly composed vignettes. As the story follows Mack from her girlhood in the 1970s across several decades, the film has minimal dialogue and a narrative that offers fragments of her life in time-shifting episodes. Miraculously, all its elements come together. Jackson’s risky, beautifully realized film puts a pure artistic vision on screen. (...) In poetic fashion, All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt asks for interpretation, making ordinary explanations unnecessary.” - The Hollywood Reporter

Image gallery

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Credits

Director

Raven Jackson

Composer

Sasha Gordon, Victor Magro

With

Charleen McClure, Reginald Helms, Jr., Moses Ingram, Chris Chalk, Jayah Henry

Scenario

Raven Jackson

Director of Photography

Jomo Fray

Editor

Lee Chatametikool

Producer

Maria Altamirano, Barry Jenkins, Adele Romanski, Mark Ceryak

Production studios

A24

More information

Dialogue

English

Countries of production

United States of America

Screenplay based on

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Year

2023

Filmography

Raven Jackson
Nettles (short, 2018), A Guide to Breathing Underwater (short, 2018), Røtter (short, 2019), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (2023)

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