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The Watermelon Woman (1996)The Watermelon Woman (1996)

The Watermelon Woman (1996)

This groundbreaking classic of New Queer Cinema is as funny as it is incisive.

Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.9

movie

United States of America
English
Funny, Grown-up Comedy, Slice-of-Life
1996
Cheryl Dunye, Female director
Brian Freeman, Cheryl Clarke, Cheryl Dunye
85 min

Synopsis

rotten tomatoes
imdb
wikipedia
A young black lesbian filmmaker probes into the life of The Watermelon Woman, a 1930s black actress who played 'mammy' archetypes.

Our Take

7.9
Igor Fishman

This drama was the first feature written and directed by an out Black lesbian, Cheryl Dunye, and it is an absolute joy: a cheeky faux-documentary that ingeniously blends lesbian dating life with a historical dive into Black actors in 30s Hollywood.

Dunye plays Cheryl, a self-effacing version of herself, an aspiring director working at a video store who begins to research an actress known as the Watermelon Woman for a documentary. The more Cheryl dives into her research, the more she sees parallels between her subject and her own relationship. 

As incisive as it is funny, The Watermelon Woman shares some common ground with other major indie debuts of the era like Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It and funnily enough Kevin Smith’s Clerks, but Dunye’s style is wholly her own and a dazzling treat to experience.

 

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