At a time when Moonlight is setting the art houses and festival circuit on fire, it might be tempting to take a look back into the history of queer Black cinema. If that’s your inclination, then you’re in luck because a classic from the 90s “queer new wave” is getting a limited run in NYC.
Beginning Thursday, November 10, Metrograph, will present a one-week revival run of Cheryl Dunye’s The Watermelon Woman, a queer cult classic in a new restoration.
This revival coincides with the 20th Anniversary re-release of the film, a pristine 2K HD restoration made possible by 13th Gen, Outfest Legacy Project, UCLA Film & Television Archive, Toronto International Film Festival, and First Run Features. So, if you choose to check out the film that the Los Angeles Times called, “a wry and exhilarating comedy, at once romantic and sharply observant,” it will be at its most visually appealing.
Set in Philadelphia, 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. Meanwhile, each answer Cheryl discovers about the Watermelon Woman evokes a flurry of new questions about herself and her future.
About the Filmmaker
Dunye has made over 15 films including Mommy Is Coming, The Owls, My Baby’s Daddy and HBO’s Stranger Inside [A personal favorite of mine], which garnered her an Independent Spirit award nomination for best director. Her debut film, The Watermelon Woman, was awarded the Teddy at the Berlinale in 1996 and was recently restored by Outfest’s UCLA Legacy Project for the films’ 20th anniversary. Dunye has received numerous awards and honors for her work including a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship. She is also a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Release: November 10 – 17