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35mm, 70mm, nitrate, state-of-the-art digital. Q&As, retrospectives, double-features, triple-features, marathons. We’re a year-round film festival. There’s something for everyone in our programming lineup.
The American Cinematheque is a member-donor-volunteer supported 501(c)(3) non-profit arts organization whose mission is to celebrate the experience of cinema.
37 years of American Cinematheque film programming….and counting. Dive into the AC Vault to discover past Q&As and clips from our vast and newly digitized archives, old calendars and programs, new podcasts, conversations and much more.
Since it began screening films to the public in 1985, the American Cinematheque has provided diverse film programming and immersive in-person discussions and events with thousands of filmmakers and luminaries, presenting new and repertory cinema to Los Angeles.
$8.00 (member) ; $13.00 (general admission)
Aero Theatre | Double Feature
Home / Now Showing / DESERT HEARTS / THE WATERMELON WOMAN
DESERT HEARTS, 1985, Janus Films, 91 min. Dir. Donna Deitch
Donna Deitch’s swooning and sensual first film, DESERT HEARTS, was groundbreaking upon its 1986 release: a love story about two women, produced and directed by a woman. In the 1959-set film, an adaptation of a beloved novel by Jane Rule, straitlaced East Coast professor Vivian Bell (Helen Shaver) arrives in Reno to file for divorce, but winds up catching the eye of someone new, the younger free spirit Cay (Patricia Charbonneau), touching off a slow seduction that unfolds against the breathtaking desert landscape. With smoldering chemistry between its two leads, an evocative jukebox soundtrack, and vivid cinematography by Robert Elswit, DESERT HEARTS beautifully exudes a sense of tender yearning and emotional candor.
THE WATERMELON WOMAN, 1996, First Run Features, 90 min. Dir. Cheryl Dunye
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.