Special Report: 24th Créteil International Women's Film Festival

By Moira Sullivan
Movie Magazine International
Report from Créteil Festival 2002

After 24 years of existence, the Créteil International Film Festival organised by
Jackie Buet still lives up to its promise of showcasing new work by talented
women directors as well as acknowledging the achievements of veterans. The
Créteil public got what it searches for each year: a powerful film by Cheryl
Dunye about incarcerated women, which captures the festival heart and soul. There
is usually a conflict between the film selected by the public and the
international jury, but this year the latter decreed Stranger Inside as worthy of
special mention. The profile this year on 'Latina' film provided screening for
new directions in themes and filmic conditions from the New Worlds and the Old
World Showcasing a panorama of films from a particular area of the world is the
hallmark of the Créteil pageant After coming away from the festival its is clear
that one's orientation and perception of Latina film has been altered through a
deep acquaintance afforded by the experience of over 40 projected films.

Several films this year chronicle how the global conditions of women are still
intolerable such as Lourdes Portillo's documentary from Mexico 'Senorita
Extraviada' about the murder of over 200 women in Juarez, Mexico. Here the
sweatshops of globalization have cropped up and thrive through the efforts of
young women working at maquiladoras, factories set up for cheap labor

Women's film is also characterized by skillful documentaries that appraise the
role of women in society. 'Hastrid Hadad', by Aurélie Sémichon and Pierre Favre
of France was winner of the Association of Women's Journalists prize for best
documentary, a chronicle of a woman who emulates the mythical archetypes and
idiosyncrasies of the Mexican female sex in powerful performance artistry.

Special guest, Nathalie Baye added to the richness of the festival, an actress of
superb integrity and talent, which the retrospective of her films confirmed.

Attending a 'ghettoized festival' which shows almost exclusive non-mainstream
films by women may not draw the crowds from the Paris center to the 40 minute
Metro ride required to reach Créteil. But it is clear from year to year that
every festival is unique and rich with opportunities to witness global filmmaking
by women, which is not on the decline. As issues for women shift, so do the films
which reflect these occurrences.

Interesting new work from Korea show how the conglomeration of gadgetry--cell
phones and intermural shopping-- numbs five young friends until two of them
discover the strength of joining forces in 'Take Care Of My Cat' by Jeong
Jae-Eun. In 'Anatomy Class' by Soyun Zung young girls band together in an
unsupervised biology lesson to dissect three young men in military attire who
shoot themselves. The film points to a new dimension in women's filmmaking where
the old themes prevail in new disguises. The Eurymythics's battle cry is used to
drive home the message: "sisters are doin' it for themselves. Standin' on their
own two feet.And ringin' on their own bells".

This Moira Sullivan from Paris France, for Movie Magazine International
More Information:
24th Créteil International Women's Film Festival
Special Report