Friday, January 20, 2006
THE WATERMELON WOMAN
This is a 1996 film by Cheryl Dunaye (who acts as herself in this fictional history) that sweetheart serendipiduous lent me.
The film is structured like a documentary in which a first time film maker Cheryl sets out to trace the life of a "nanny" figure in the 30's hollywood films, a lady whose name in the credit was shown as the watermelon woman. as she finds out more and more about this mystery lady, the audience finds out mroe about cheryl herself and her relationships and also the need that drives her to find out about this woman. we get to knwo about her friendships and relationships, and get to letch at the gorgeousness that she is.
her story somehow runs parallel to that of the watermelon woman, both lesbians involved in an interracial relationship, both attached to films and trying to find their feet in the film industry.
she raises questions about blackness and lesbianism, but they are not contested categories for her, they already are full fledged questions that from now on need to be articulated, and one of these means of articulation is the film that she has been making.
that the documentary mode of narration is another one of these devices which allows you to write your own histroy is what makes the film most special. what is this fine line between fact and fiction that needs to be maintained in order to be able to make a statement about one's identity?
she overlooks it, and gives us an enjoyable film in the process.
wish you were making more such films cheryl.