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U.S., 1996
Directed by Cheryl Dunye
With Cheryl Dunye, Guinevere Turner, Camille Paglia, Sarah Schulman, Cheryl Clarke, David Rakoff
Approx. 90 min. DCP.

Cheryl Dunye is a video store clerk and aspiring filmmaker fixated on documenting the career of Fae Richards, a Hattie McDaniel-type character actress of the 1930s known for playing stereotypical “mammy” roles. She finds herself on a comic fact-finding mission that reveals Richards’ behind-the-scenes secret interracial romance, forcing Dunye to reflect on her own with video store customer Guinevere Turner. “An investigation into film history that doubles as a romantic comedy, THE WATERMELON WOMAN is a dazzlingly inventive landmark of the New Queer Cinema and the first US feature directed by an out Black lesbian.” – Chrystel Oloukoï, BFI


“A wonderfully inventive journey through the annals of film history, African American culture, dyke attitudes, race relations and the mysteries of lesbian attraction. Did I mention this is a comedy, too?”
 – B. Ruby Rich

“An incisive and side-splitting comedy about Black film history, queer friendship, interracial relationships, and so much more… Helped shape how Black queer stories are told on screen.”
– Kyndall Cunningham, The Daily Beast

“Still revolutionary in the ways it depicts race, gender and sexuality, and is especially unique in its critique of film as an industry and artistic form. Far from being essential only to the history of Black or queer cinema, THE WATERMELON WOMAN is an invaluable classic within the broader film canon, holding the whole industry accountable for the ways it has tokenized and erased Blackness.”
– Anoushka Ratnarajah, Artistic Director, Vancouver Queer Film Festival

Film Forum