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Watermelon Woman

Although the sex scenes in filmmaker Cheryl Dunye's Watermelon Woman are discreet, sensual encounters between Dunye and actress Guinevere Turner (Go Fish), the 1997 "mockumentary" sparked yet another ugly congressional debate over funding at the National Endowment for the Arts after its original release. In the film, Dunye stars as a young video-store employee who is working on her first film, a documentary of an obscure Hollywood star of 1930's "race" films who--Dunye discovers--had a longtime affair with the white woman who directed her films. Dunye's fascination with the fictional "Watermelon Woman" drives the comedy and emerges as a means (fictional or otherwise) for Dunye to reclaim her heritage as a black lesbian filmmaker. Watermelon Woman will be screened as part of the Duke Screen/Society's program, "Documenting Sexualities." The event will also include screenings of Greetings From Africa, a short film by Dunye, and Looking For Langston, a film by Isaac Julien that also plays with notions of history and sexual identity. See "Special Showings" for details.

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