Movie Review: 31st Creteil Films de Femmes, Part 1

By Moira Sullivan
Movie Magazine International
The 31st Creteil Films de Femmes Festival is underway in Creteil,a suburb of Paris,and kicked off March 13. Ten days of films through March 24th made by women are featured with several competitions for best feature, documentary and shorts both European and international. This year the theme is American Independents and a group of filmmakers are in town to show their work, both veterans and young filmmakers. Student films from San Francisco State University and the American Film Institute have been screened and the San Francisco students have made shorts on subjects such as a Russian woman looking for her daughter in St Petersburg, Hurricane Katrina, what inspires artists to create and a 12-year-old Rajasthani refugee. This festival is a great opportunity for these young filmmakers to find inspiration and connections with other women in the field. The Creteil organizers traveled to the USA last year to bring films both new and classic to be part of a special section called Invisible Frontiers. The films chronicle historical and contemporary activism such as Barbara Kopple's Harlan County USA of the famous miners strike in 1974,Union Maidsby Julia Reichert about women union pioneers during the depression, a film about Obama's campaign seen through the eyes of Franco Americans- Obama Closer to the Dream and Julie Dash's The Rosa Parks Story about the early history of the civil rights organizer who refused to sit at the back of the bus in the 50's. The filmmaker was present at the screening said that "Rosa Parks sat so that Martin Luther King Jr could march so that Obama could run". Movie Magazine will feature an exclusive interview with Julie Dash next week from the Paris festival.
Other films at Creteil take up the life of Josephine Baker in Josephine Baker Black Diva in a White Man's World by Annette Von Wangenheim from Germany and The Sugar Babies by Amy Serrano from Cuba about the children of sugar cane cutters of Haitian ancestry in the Dominican Republic and the violation of their basic human rights.
The documentaries in the competition this year are excellent and explore themes such as the displacement of the Inuit families in Canada in 1950 to break down their sovereignty to the land, an area glorified by Robert Flaherty's Nanook of the North - entitled Martha of the North by Marquise Lepage from Quebec/Canada, and Antoine, an exquisite chronicle of a 6 year old visually impaired boy from Quebec who has a rich fantasy world as a private detective looking for Madame Rousky, made by Laura Bari of Quebec/Canada.
This year the guest of honor is Anna Karina, featured in many of New Wave films by Jean Luc Godard such as Pierrot the Fool, Vivre sa Vivre, Made in USA and Bande Part. A retrospective of her films, including her own film Victoria(2008) are featured. Anna Karina, born Hanna Karin Bayer in Denmark, made her debut in a short film when she was 14: The Girl and the Shoes by IB Shmedes, a film that later won her an award at Cannes. This rare film shows her abilities at such a young age. She told the audience that Coco Chanel gave her the name Anna Karina. The Danish born actress has remained in France since her late teens.

For Movie Magazine this is Moira Sullivan Paris France
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31st Creteil Films de Femmes, Part 1