Before the Daughters of the Dust started, Dr. Hoffpauir warned us that the film would most likely make us feel like we were intruding on private conversations/moments of the characters. I soon realized that one of the ways the film accomplishes this feeling of intrusion is when Julie Dash creates scenes where an object of some sort is in between the viewer/camera and the character/s being viewed. For instance, in the first scene that Yellow Mary is in, Mary’s face is covered with a veil (blocking her face from view) and there are also branches in the way of looking at the entire scene. In having the viewers’ field of vision compromised, it marks a difficulty when watching the film–not allowing for easy digestion–which breaks the fourth wall because it requires the viewer to think and realize they are intruding and are not actually a part of the story. Therefore explicitly requiring the audience to become self-aware of their audience-ship.
I have been wondering about the reasons Dash decided to make the audience feel obtrusive. One of my ideas was that Dash wanted to make a statement on definitive aspects of movies. Specifically pertaining to obtrusiveness: in films the audience are asked to be passive viewers of film and are not required to be self-aware or critical thinkers. Dash, it seems, wants viewers to reevaluate their position as a viewer (or even a person) and have self-reflection.