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The Watermelon Woman
Directed by Cheryl Dunye • 1996 • United States
Starring Cheryl Dunye, Guinevere Turner, Valarie Walker
Cheryl Dunye’s bitingly funny, deeply personal feature debut is a landmark look at the black lesbian experience. The director herself stars as Cheryl, a twenty-something lesbian struggling to make a documentary about Fae Richards, a beautiful and elusive 1930s black film actress popularly known as the Watermelon Woman. While uncovering the meaning of Richards’s life, Cheryl simultaneously experiences a total upheaval in her own when she embarks on an affair with a white woman (Guinevere Turner). Soon, each answer Cheryl discovers about the Watermelon Woman evokes a flurry of new questions about herself and her future.