6.4/10
613
11 user 25 critic

The Watermelon Woman (1996)

Unrated | | Drama | 5 March 1997 (USA)
Cheryl is young, Black, and lesbian, working in Philadelphia with her best friend Tamara and consumed by a film project: to make a video about her search for a Black actress from Philly who... See full summary »

Director:

Writer:

On Disc

at Amazon

2 wins. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Go Fish (1994)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Max is a trendy, pretty, young lesbian, who is having trouble finding love. A friend sets her up with Ely, whom Max likes, but Ely is frumpy, homely, and older. Nor do they have much in ... See full summary »

Director: Rose Troche
Stars: V.S. Brodie, Guinevere Turner, T. Wendy McMillan
Pariah I (2011)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A Brooklyn teenager juggles conflicting identities and risks friendship, heartbreak, and family in a desperate search for sexual expression.

Director: Dee Rees
Stars: Adepero Oduye, Kim Wayans, Aasha Davis
Comedy | Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Set ten years after the most peaceful revolution in United States history, a revolution in which a socialist government gains power, this films presents a dystopia in which the issues of ... See full summary »

Director: Lizzie Borden
Stars: Honey, Adele Bertei, Jean Satterfield
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A black and white, fantasy-like recreation of high-society gay men during the Harlem Renaissance, with archival footage and photographs intercut with a story. A wake is going on, with ... See full summary »

Director: Isaac Julien
Stars: Ben Ellison, Matthew Baidoo, Akim Mogaji
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Languid look at the Gullah culture of the sea islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia where African folk-ways were maintained well into the 20th Century and was one of the last ... See full summary »

Director: Julie Dash
Stars: Cora Lee Day, Alva Rogers, Barbarao
Stranger Inside (TV Movie 2001)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A mother daughter reunion set in the harsh reality of a women's correctional facility

Director: Cheryl Dunye
Stars: Yolonda Ross, Davenia McFadden, Rain Phoenix
The Owls (2010)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

Two middle-aged, lesbian couples accidentally kill a younger lesbian and hide the body, without reporting it to the authorities. Their guilt and long-kept, dark secret comes back to haunt ... See full summary »

Director: Cheryl Dunye
Stars: Deak Evgenikos, Guinevere Turner, V.S. Brodie
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A chronicle of New York's drag scene in the 1980s, focusing on balls, voguing and the ambitions and dreams of those who gave the era its warmth and vitality.

Director: Jennie Livingston
Stars: Brooke Xtravaganza, André Christian, Dorian Corey
Saving Face (2004)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A Chinese-American lesbian and her traditionalist mother are reluctant to go public with secret loves that clash against cultural expectations.

Director: Alice Wu
Stars: Joan Chen, Michelle Krusiec, Lynn Chen
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Footage shot by a group of Swedish journalists documenting the Black Power Movement in the United States is edited together by a contemporary Swedish filmmaker.

Director: Göran Olsson
Stars: Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

An adventurous love story between two young women of different social and economic backgrounds who find themselves going through all the typical struggles of a new romance.

Director: Maria Maggenti
Stars: Laurel Holloman, Nicole Ari Parker, Maggie Moore
Director: Cheryl Dunye
Stars: Kingston Farady
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Cheryl Dunye ...
...
Diana
Valarie Walker ...
Tamara
Lisa Marie Bronson ...
Fae 'The Watermelon Woman' Richards
Cheryl Clarke ...
June Walker
Irene Dunye ...
Herself
Brian Freeman ...
Lee Edwards
Camille Paglia ...
Herself
Sarah Schulman ...
CLIT Archivist
V.S. Brodie ...
Karaoke Singer
Shelley Olivier ...
Annie Heath
Toshi Reagon ...
...
Video Browser
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mickey Goldhaber ...
Featured
K. Brent Hill ...
J.J. Liberty
Edit

Storyline

Cheryl is young, Black, and lesbian, working in Philadelphia with her best friend Tamara and consumed by a film project: to make a video about her search for a Black actress from Philly who appeared in films in the 30s and was known as the Watermelon Woman. Following various leads, Cheryl discovers the Watermelon Woman's stage name and real name and surmises that the actress had a long affair with Martha Page, a White woman and one of Hollywood's few female directors. As she's discovering these things, Cheryl becomes involved with Diana, who's also White. The affair strains Cheryl's friendship with Tamara. More discoveries bring Cheryl (and us, her audience) to new realizations. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 March 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Arbuziarka  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene from the faux-archival 1930s film, "Plantation Memories", was directed by Douglas McKeown and co-written by McKeown and Cheryl Dunye See more »

Quotes

Cheryl: Hey! Hey, you're Martin Pumphrey!
Street Magician: No ma'am, I'm a magician.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film, which seems to be a documentary about Cheryl's search for the obscure actress who inspired her, ends with these printed words: "Sometimes you have to create your own history. The Watermelon Woman is fiction. Cheryl Dunye, 1996" See more »

Connections

References Watermelon Man (1970) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Might encourage exclusivism in naive audiences.
26 January 2003 | by See all my reviews

A couple of issues provoked my confusion and frustration in this psuedo-doco, film-type disjointed array of small-time scenes. I feel compelled to comment on them here, although they are not, in my experience confined to this particular picture. Primarily this is about the black-white thing, which is a subject I avoid as much as possible, since to me, it isn't something important that should be encouraged at all. Movies like this make it a thing and it, quite frankly, p**ses me off. I thought this was supposed to be about film-making, historical-research, and as a contemporary subordinate, lesbianism. Superficilly these topics may have dominated, underlying them was an extremely strong and all-too repetitive colour issue. Apparently it is a bad thing for white people to prefer black people or vice versa. A reason, implicably, for two people who like each other to get mad and break up. Rhetorically speaking, WHY is this made into a problem? When a girl falls in love with a girl then realises her lover's a lesbian (WHOA) they don't suddenly loath each other on account of woman to woman 'usage'. And Cheryl was the liberal among these mains.

Tamara was too much. The reverse-racism exhbited by this woman makes all historical attempts by the black masses at equality ostentatious, as with womans liberation turning to aggressive feminism. Temporarily, since as an educated, contemporary, liberal brought up in multi-racial society sudden, transient overwhelming provocation of irrational emotion cannot affect mentality. Perhaps 50 years ago... Now, okay, the woman she is researching was subject to colour-prejudice in her time (20's-30's). But this historical aspect was amplified many times over by the young 90's characters. This is the 21st century, we're all just as new to the world as each other, and none of us should be victimised at present because of whatever happened in the past to and by other people. The continuation of past problems is the most pretentious cause of person can hold.

It reads on the back of this tape "containing the most notorious lesbian sex scenes of recent years". Did I see the cut version? Made in 1996 the Watermelon woman that I saw could not compete leso-sex-wise with even the most popular lesbian films made prior in the '90's - It's in the water, Wild side, Butterfly kiss, Female Perversions, Late Bloomers, ... yes, I could go on. Not to mention the complete lack of relationship devlopment (as non/controversial lesbianism) which has been portrayed extremely well on screen since post-silent times.

A former commenter wrote that this was a singular film experience for her of the soft-core interracial lesbian scene. Personally I've never seen any black, lesbian smut, but okay, try checking the non-pornographic sections of a video store. The two most common interracial lesbian films I can think of (The incredibly true adventures of two girls in love and When night is falling) don't even promenade the interracial issue. They're two people, just like two other people. If the colour of someones skin contributes to someones attraction for them, why is that any different than the shape of their smile, or the sway of their personality. So there it is, my one-time appeal to please mellow out about the the entire above subject.


8 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?
Review this title | See all 11 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

'Star Wars' Creatures We Love

"The IMDb Show" breaks down the origins of some iconic Star Wars creatures. Plus, legendary sword choreographer Tim Weske explains the basics of lightsaber combat.

Watch now