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The Watermelon Woman

(Rated Unclassified)

Presented by Runway

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Overview

Famous for being the first feature film made by a black lesbian, Cheryl Dunye’s The Watermelon Woman stars Dunye herself as a young, movie-obsessed woman working in a video store in Philadelphia. She’s drawn to films from the 30s and 40s which feature anonymous black women and decides to make a documentary about actress Fae Richards, known as ‘the Watermelon Woman’. As Cheryl tries to track her down, she unearths forgotten film histories and becomes entangled in questions about her own life and community while entering into an affair with a beautiful white woman (Guinevere Turner of Go Fish & The L Word), much to the amusement and criticism of her best friend.

Why You Should See This Film

Winner of the Teddy Award at Berlin Film Festival in 1996, The Watermelon Woman has been restored and re-released — screening again in cinemas all over the world. It’s an important document of queer and black visibility and an excellent time capsule of low-budget '90s filmmaking.

Presented by Runway, screening with Bugging Out: A Tribute to Do the Right Thing

In Runway Journal Issue # 37 [Cinema], twelve artists were invited to respond to a film from a program put together by editors Alifa Bandali and Sarinah Masukor. Together, the films explore ideas of guilt, love, race, belonging, landscape and place. The responses are loose and personal, with many artists reflecting on their place in society and the power of cinema to question how we look at ourselves.

Paul Matereke's Bugging Out: A Tribute to Do the Right Thing (2018) will screen before The Watermelon Woman.

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  • Year: 1996
  • Rating: Unclassified
  • Director: Cheryl Dunye
  • Cast: Cheryl Dunye, Guinevere Turner, Valerie Walker
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Language: English
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