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The Watermelon Woman 15 rating

Cheryl Dunye's smart and funny romance - thought to be the first feature directed by a black lesbian - remains a breath of fresh air decades on.

Comedy 1997 85 mins

Director: Cheryl Dunye



Many years have passed since Dunye's smart and funny take on black lesbian life was first released, but The Watermelon Woman is still a breath of fresh air in a world of identikit films. This fake documentary raises questions of authenticity, visibility and authorship as Dunye plays film-maker Cheryl, in search of a forgotten Black actress. As her research progresses and her love life gets complicated, uncomfortable truths emerge.

The Watermelon Woman garnered great critical and audience acclaim upon its release, and contains the most notorious lesbian sex scene of its time, (which even saw the film being discussed in Congress). The film is a fiction, but Cheryl Dunye says, “Sometimes you have to create your own history.”