The Early Works of Cheryl Dunye (Shorts Program)

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Cheryl Dunye_iconCheryl Dunye: Blurring Distinctions 

The Early Works of Cheryl Dunye (Shorts Program)

  1. Sunday, January 21, 2018 6:30 p.m.
Still from the film She Don't Fade.

Vilified by conservatives in Congress, defended by major newspapers, and celebrated by audiences and festivals around the world as one of the most provocative, humorous, and important filmmakers of our time, Cheryl Dunye practically invented a new form of cinema—call it ‘Dunyementary.’ Using a mixture of narrative and documentary techniques, ‘Dunyementary’ challenges social and cultural norms through a sharply funny and reflexive lens. Never scholarly or didactic, Dunye appreciates the value in entertaining viewers. Her acclaimed first feature The Watermelon Woman (1996) introduced Cheryl to wider audiences, who fell in love with her self-deprecating and insightful wit. But what came before this modern-day classic? Presented here are the films that started it all, Dunye’s early works that gave birth to an extraordinary and original filmmaking talent. Made with great creativity on often-miniscule budgets, they represent the first chapter of the Cheryl Dunye oeuvre. Short films in this program include Greetings from Africa (1994), The Potluck and the Passion (1993), An Untitled Portrait (1993), Vanilla Sex (1992), She Don’t Fade (1991), and Janine Contains mature content, including strong language and nudity.(1990). (Digital Presentation)

Shorts Program:

Janine (9 min., 1990)
The story of a black lesbian’s relationship with a white, upper-middle-class, high-school girl.


She Don’t Fade (23 min., 1991)
A self-reflexive look at the sexuality of a young black lesbian.


The Potluck and the Passion (30 min., 1993)
Sparks fly as racial, sexual, and social politics intermingle at a lesbian potluck.


Vanilla Sex (3 min., 1992)
Is it who you do, or what you do?


An Untitled Portrait (3 min., 1993)
Dunye’s relationship with her brother is examined in this mixture of appropriated film footage, Super 8mm home movies, and Dunye’s special brand of humor.


Greetings from Africa (8 min., 1994)
Cheryl, playing herself, humorously experiences the mysteries of lesbian dating in the ‘90s.