In the rich tapestry of Southern storytelling, first-time filmmaker Raven Jackson emerges as a compelling new voice with her vividly crafted debut feature, "All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt." Drawing upon themes of anticipation, love, and heartbreak, Jackson’s nontraditional narrative invites audiences on a soul-stirring journey through the life of Mack, a Black woman in rural Mississippi. Through tender caresses and enveloping embraces, Jackson crafts an expressionist ode to connection — both with loved ones and with the lasting sense of place that defines Mack's existence.
The film follows its protagonist Mack (Sheila Atim), through different stages of her life, from the innocence of childhood, young adulthood and into her old age. Mack’s journey is viewed in no particular manner but through visceral flashbacks of meaningful events in her life such as love grief, loss, and pregnancy. Although there’s very little dialogue throughout the film, Jackson portrays Mack’s journey through spectacular imagery that evokes a profound meaning in each setting.
It comes to no one’s surprise that Jackson is an award- winning poet, and photographer, because each scene is like an oil painting, beautifully weaving together a story of one woman’s life. All Dirt Roads leads to Salt is more like a visual poem than a movie, because if you’re looking for a clear narrative, there really isn’t one. Jackson's visionary style will captivate viewers who appreciate cinematic artistry, with a style which some critics have compared to Terrence Malick. Cinematographer Jomo Fray captures the surroundings of a rural Mississippi through beautiful color palettes and dreamlike precision. In close-up scenes, Jackson and fray's use of lighting enhances the varying shades of the character's beautiful dark skin and is quite impressive.
Raven Jackson’s innovative film is a moving piece of art that centers the human connection and the people that shape it. Jackson’s debut is strong and evocative; placing this new writer and director in a category all in her own as one to watch for. We are thrilled to see what awaits her in future projects.