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The Watermelon Woman
A film by Cheryl Dunye

90 minutes, fiction, color, English, 1996

After 25 years, our rights have lapsed to this title. Please look out for a re-release from another company in the months ahead.



Re-released for its 20th anniversary in a pristine 2K HD restoration, The Watermelon Woman is the story of Cheryl (Cheryl Dunye), a twenty-something black 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 Fae Richards' life, Cheryl experiences a total upheaval in her personal life. Her love affair with Diana (Guinevere Turner, Go Fish), a beautiful white woman, and her interactions with the gay and black communities, are subject to the comic yet biting criticism of her best friend Tamara (Valerie Walker). Meanwhile, each answer Cheryl discovers about the Watermelon Woman evokes a flurry of new questions about herself and her future.


"Adventurous...funny...wonderful!" - The New York Times

"A landmark of New Queer Cinema and the first feature film directed by an African American lesbian. With biting humor and a sharp eye towards hidden histories, the film deftly captures the search for identity and how we, in turn, preserve and share history, from the stories told by our selves, families, and communities, to those produced by Hollywood and culture writ large." - Interview Magazine

"A wry, exhilarating comedy, at once romantic and sharply observant." - Los Angeles Times

"A vital example of New Queer Cinema, but it's more than a time capsule. Funny and smart, full of astute observations about identity and history, Cheryl Dunye's audacious, joyous debut feature captures the process of falling hopelessly in love with the movies." - Village Voice

"As educational as it is about race and gender politics, 'The Watermelon Woman' also carries itself with the charm and lifelike quality of a Linklater film." - Paste Magazine


INTERVIEW: The Watermelon Woman at Twenty- Fandor Keyframe

INTERVIEW: Cheryl Dunye's Alternative Histories- Interview Magazine

Cheryl Dunye Always Knew Black Lives Mattered: ‘The Watermelon Woman’ Legacy- Indiewire

Disc Features

●  BONUS FILM: Black is Blue (Dir. Cheryl Dunye; 16 minutes; 2014)

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