A light-hearted, original and intelligent film in which almost all conceivable fake style variations are used and that moves between mock documentary and comedy and between virtually real interviews and cleverly falsified archive footage. Film-maker Cheryl Dunye herself plays the lead of an up-and-coming film-maker who works in a video store. Dunye is young, black and lesbian and uncompromisingly militant in expressing her racial attitudes and sexual proclivities. Her best friend Tamara also works in the video store. Together they pick up dates and work on Dunye's film project. Dunye researches black actors and above all black actresses in old Hollywood films. In those days they got little more than 'Big Mammy' roles. She was especially fascinated by an actress who became known under the name 'TheWatermelon Woman'. She seeks and finds beautiful and unknown archive footage and discovers that the mysterious mammy had a relationship with the white woman director Martha Page. Within the context of this programme one doesn't have to be surprised that the archive material found is fake, yet the material remains convincing even if you know it is a forgery. For affectionados, the film includes a comic cameo role by Camille Paglia. The title of the film refers to the risqué black satire The Watermelon Man by Melvin Van Peebles. (GjZ)

Filmmaker
Cheryl L. Dunye
Premiere
-
Country
USA
Year
1995
Medium
16mm
Length
90’
Language
English
Producer
Dancing Girl Productions
Sales
Dancing Girl Productions