Cheryl Dunye directs herself, Valerie Walker and Guinevere Turner in this indie comedy where a black lesbian documentary maker investigates a forgotten Hollywood actress.
Recently reappraised as a BIPOC LGBT watershed, I’m not going to pretend that my favourite scenes weren’t Cheryl moonlighting in her video rental shop. There’s echoes of Clerks in the salty interactions and now hyper nostalgic Generation X setting. The workable rom com elements of this are just abandoned after a sweetly full-on sex scene. The fake film historian investigation equally struggles to gain momentum. This clearly is a film cobbled from fudges, a tapestry of sequences defined by whatever resources were available that weekend and whatever piqued Dunye’s attention that week. No part of the pot luck is unworthy or bad but The Watermelon Woman never coalesces into something that transcends its amateur, outsider origins.
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