All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt: The Whitworth film festival

By Ruby Brady | Staff Writer

“All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt,” courtesy of A24 Films

The Whitworth Film Festival and the Introduction to Film Studies class produced the “All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt” film, which was only shown at a few film festivals prior to making a debut on the Whitworth University campus.  

The film was directed and written by Raven Jackson, a famous poet, starring new actors to the movie world: Kaylee Nicole Johnson playing young Mack, Chris Chalk playing Isaiah, and Jayah Henery playing young Josie. Bought by A24 for distribution rights and produced by Pastel and A24, it is described as “an ode to the generations of people, places, and ineffable moments that shape us,” said Jackson.   

The story takes place in Mississippi, following Mack and her family. The story is non-linear, about life, grief, love, loss, triumphs and overcoming being human. It is a quiet film about life, with few lines but a lot of ambient noise. “I found it very impactful in the way narrative can be explored mainly through visual cues,” said Patton Miller, a Whitworth junior.

After the movie, the Introduction to Film Studies class discussed the film. It as a “memory film, so it is a vague sense of how you are,” said Dr. Fred Johnson, a professor in the English department at Whitworth. According to Johnson, Jackson often does not explain the relationships between people in the film.  

There was discussion on how the family are all connected, which also played with the movie’s metaphor of water and humanity; we are in intercommunity with the earth because we are dirt and water, or as the movie claimed, “You’re just dirt.”

Mack’s grounding is her family and her relationships. “What is it like to be sisters in this place and time? What is it like to be family?” asked Johnson. 

The movie is about the elements of humanity: how we are connected to the world and how the world makes up who we are. There are no typical responses based on what we are used to. We grab the person’s hand and touch them softly. They are trained to be quiet and not to react. This does not mean that there is not depth in the movie.  

This movie’s sentiments are based on family and how strong relationships are. The movie frequently returned to the small moments that remind you of your parents or your family and the cycle of life, how everything is connected. “All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt” is now available to rent on Amazon Prime, Apple TV, and Fandango.

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