MoMA presents a new digital restoration of the queer classic The Watermelon Woman (1995), the first feature film directed by a black lesbian, for the film’s 20th anniversary. “Cheryl (played by writer-director Cheryl Dunye) is a video-store clerk who moonlights as a documentary filmmaker. Her most recent project finds her consulting a range of sources—including cultural critic Camille Paglia and the fictional Center for Lesbian Information & Technology (CLIT)—as she traces the story of an anonymous African American actress from the 1930s, whose only screen credit identifies her as 'The Watermelon Woman.' As her blossoming relationship with a white video-store patron (Guinevere Turner) draws the ire of her closest friends, Cheryl starts to draw her own conclusions about queer identity and the urgent need to reconstitute the herstories of the silver screen’s marginalized figures” (Toronto International Film Festival notes).
The Watermelon Woman. 1995. USA. Written and directed by Cheryl Dunye