Sunday, May 15, 2016

Auteur Watch - Cheryl Dunye

Shame on me!  I forgot this one.  Well, it's a large body of work here, so I should probably give it more than just a cursory look.  After all, not everyone is the Jane Campion of Liberia!  Now, I don't know who exactly this Sapphire is, but if it's the same one behind 2009's Precious, well... it's a variation on a theme, let's say.  Unfortunately, there's a lot of suffering teenagers out there.  All part of the Right Wing's love and respect for all life on this planet, naturally.  So Cheryl's got the populist touch, anyway.
Take 1996's The Watermelon Woman, for example... oy.  Well, it's been a while since Watermelon Man from 1970.  Not to be confused with Paul Newman's The MacKintosh Man.  I've been doing that a lot lately.  Anyway, now that IFC and the Sundance channel, for two, have gone almost completely corporate, The Watermelon Woman probably won't be seen on cable any time soon, and I'd be very very surprised if Turner Classic Movies showed it.  To make matters worse, Cheryl's co-star in the pic, Guinevere Turner, still won't return her calls!  Owwch.
So being the lesbian equivalent of Spike Lee wasn't in the cards.  But Hollywood took notice, and we got 2004's My Baby's Daddy... wait a tic!  Didn't... oh, never mind.  John Singletary... Singleton's 2001 pic was called Baby Boy.  So working with Eddie Griffin in 2004 meant Cheryl was at the top of her game.  What to do next?  Why, a six year break from directing, of course!  Sometimes you just gotta clear the pallet and the palette for half a decade.  Call it the Eddie Griffin Effect, if you must.
But the 2010s are looking to be Cheryl's best decade yet.  Her latest is a short from 2014 called The Brother from Another Planet... I'm sorry, it's called Brother from Another Time.  Well, original titles are hard to come by.  I believe the phenomenon is called titulomimicry... probably wrong about the phraseology on that one.  But I will give mad props to her for Mommy is Coming, a film that probably took her almost completely out of her comfort zone, as it's about an underground scene in Berlin.  Probably the idea of co-conspirator Sarah Schulman, but still!  Also, I can't resist an Ishtar reference, because I believe it was the successful duo of Rogers and Clarke who once sang "She's gonna Change her name to Carol."  Which, incidentally, is egg-zactly what Cherly did for her 2010 movie, The Owls!

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