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The Watermelon Woman

Director: Cheryl Dunye Run Time: 85 min. Release Year: 1996

Starring: Cheryl Clarke, Cheryl Dunye, Guinevere Turner, Lisa Marie Bronson, Valarie Walker

Screenwriter: Cheryl Dunye

Producer: Barry Swimar

Presented by Ify Nwadiwe

Here’s the quintessential video store movie and a fun and feisty queer romantic comedy from groundbreaking filmmaker Cheryl Dunye. A young black lesbian filmmaker — in between stocking video store shelves and flirting with cute customers — probes into the life of the Watermelon Woman, a 1930s black actress who played a number of ‘mammy’ archetypes in early cinema. She begins to see a number of parallels to her own life and her new relationship with a white woman. Dunye manages to create a film that explores potentially divisive ideas of race, gender, and queerness, but never feels didactic or anything less than thoroughly irreverent and entertaining.


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