GANJA & HESS

Flirting with the conventions of blaxploitation and horror, Bill Gunn’s revolutionary independent film Ganja & Hess is a highly stylized and utterly original treatise on sex, religion, and African American identity. Duane Jones (Night of the Living Dead) stars as anthropologist Hess Green, who is stabbed with an ancient ceremonial dagger by his unstable assistant (director Bill Gunn), bestowing upon him the blessing of immortality… and the curse of an unquenchable thirst for blood. When the assistant’s beautiful and outspoken wife Ganja (Marlene Clark) comes searching for her missing husband, she and Hess form an unexpected partnership. Together, they explore just how much power blood holds.

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THE WATERMELON WOMAN

Re-released for its 20th anniversary in a pristine 2K HD restoration, The Watermelon Woman is the story of Cheryl (Cheryl Dunye), a twenty-something black lesbian struggling to make a documentary about Fae Richards, a beautiful and elusive 1930s black film actress popularly known as “The Watermelon Woman.” While uncovering the meaning of Fae Richards’ life, Cheryl experiences a total upheaval in her personal life. Her love affair with Diana (Guinevere Turner, Go Fish), a beautiful white woman, and her interactions with the gay and black communities, are subject to the comic yet biting criticism of her best friend Tamara (Valerie Walker). Meanwhile, each answer Cheryl discovers about the Watermelon Woman evokes a flurry of new questions about herself and her future.

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SIDEWALK STORIES

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An unsung miracle of American independent filmmaking, SIDEWALK STORIES reworks Charlie Chaplin’s slapstick classic THE KID for 1980s New York. Writer-director Charles Lane casts himself as a modern-day Little Tramp, a struggling artist living on the fringes of downtown New York who becomes the protector of a young girl whose father has just been murdered. Like Chaplin, Lane blends graceful physical comedy and heartfelt emotion to create a poignant, nearly silent look at the struggles of life on the streets.

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