The 26th 'Créteil Films de Femmes Festival' opened on March 12 to a packed house the largest film festival in Europe for women, and possibily the largest annual showcase of work by women behind the camera in the world. A riveting speech by actress Ariane Ascaride,the president of the jury, on the plight of interprofessionals, national theater and film directors and movie technical crew who no longer receive social benefits with cutbacks by the present French governmentbrought down the house . Thus the festival started off with a demonstration in the streets of Paris for this important issue which will effect national cinema production. This year the festival had as its theme, ‘exile cinema and cultures in exile’ with special discussion forums.
Gaylène Preston’s film Perfect Strangers
was the opening film - in the official competition, a film set in New Zealand about a stranger (played Sam Neil) that Melanie (the enigmatic Rachael Blake) picks up from a pub who then kidnaps her and takes her to a deserted island. The film weaves elements from thrillers and Maori folklore and similiar to some of the work of Jane Campion.
The guest of honor was French actress Dominic Blanc and a retrospective of her films were shown at the festival.
Another treat of this year's festival was the screening of the 1973 film by Michèlle Rosier George who?
about the French writer George Sand. A fantastic theater production preceded the screening by choreographer Karine Saporta as part of the the bicentenial celebration of the birth of George Sand that takes place in France this year.
The Association of Women Journalists on the occasion of 20 years of awarding the prize for best documentary offers a special screening of Dorothea Lange, a visual life by Meg Partridge
which won the best documentary film prize in 2000. In addition to the official jury, a youth and university jury gave out film awards. This year a special 'Working Women in Film', with representative from women's film festivals in Europe, took place, as part of 'The European Coordination of Film Festivals'.
The winning films for the Creteil festival were announced March 20: The Best film chosen by the public and jury went to Spain, was a film about spousal abuse, TAKE MY EYES
Iciar Bollain (Spain) which won the Goya for best film in Spain this year. Best documentary chosen by the jury went to a French/German co-production, about the forced 'relocation' of Native Canadian children to white families in Canada during the 1960's. ONE OF MANY
by Jo Béranger, Doris Buttignol.
The Association of Women Journalists awarded best documentary to a film on young lesbian women in Sweden, who partially filmed their stories.
DON’T YOU WORRY IT WILL PROBABLY PASS
by Cecilia Neant-Falk (Sweden). Next week a second report on the Créteil festival will be made.
For Movie Magazine This is Moira Sullivan Paris France.
© 2004 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 3/04
26th Créteil Films de Femmes Festival'