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The Watermelon Woman (Pride Weekend!)

Cheryl Dunye made cinematic history with The Watermelon Woman, the first American feature to be directed by a black lesbian as well as an incisive, humorous critique of classic Hollywood's racist stereotypes. Dunye plays an eponymous video store employee and burgeoning filmmaker who sets out to make a documentary on the Watermelon Woman (Lisa Marie Bronson), an actress who specialized in "mammy" roles for Hollywood productions of the 30s and 40s. As Cheryl uncovers the Watermelon Woman's identity she not only learns about a secret behind-the-scenes interracial romance but also begins one of her own with Diana (Guinevere Turner), a white woman who arouses the ire of Cheryl's best friend Tamara (Valerie Walker). A landmark of the New Queer Cinema, The Watermelon Woman testifies to the power of excavating legacies of oppression and in the process creates a progressive legacy of its own.


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