The Paris Cineffable Lesbian Film Festival celebrated its 15th year anniversary this year and the local government gave the volunteer run fest. 15,000 Euros. Perhaps the gay socialist mayor saw the need for the festival, a woman's only extravaganza, and it was duly rewarded, long overdue.
From 300 films, 83 were selected, representing 19 countries. Best feature "Do I Love You" (Lisa Gornick 2002 UK) covers the territory again of the lesbian lifestyle "like a pre-feminist". The slick "D.E.B.S." (Angela Robinson, 2002 USA ) featured 'Warning' from the Hollywood assembly lines. 'Beware: Chicks with Guns' and a kiss between two female assassins before their next assignment in Uganda.
Next Belgian lesbians doctor ads of supermodels such as Claudia Schiffer in "What are We Doing Tonite" (Marie Vermeiren, Belgium 2002) and rewrite their own messages: 'Vulgar Model, Macho Ad, 'Je Gerbe' (I puke) with a creative grainy documentary style.
The cinefabulous French veteran Laurence Rebouillon, presented a poetic 'politique' on the influx of the National Front in the French presidential election of 2002 -- in "Ciao Bella Ciao", France 2002).
Questions from children to transgenders unequivocally illustrate its still Uncle Bill inside although Aunt Barbara gets a pass in ("No Dumb Questions", Melissa Regan, USA 2001).
San Franciscan Madigan is featured on her trip to France in ( "Angel Food", Harper Carter, USA/FRANCE , 2003) with cello and grunge voice "Why would you think I would want to play for women only?" she asks women in the Paris group "Barbares". "It's not about struggle", they reply, "nor about marginalizing identity politics --its about strategy". Madigan is for coalitions, and wider schools of fish.
Albanian virgins living as men, and 'fish and elephants' from China are voices of diversity that seem profound in comparison to grunge and 'makeup'. The Albanian documentary from Germany "Pashke and Sofia: (by Karin Michalski, 2003, Germany) illustrates a situation of interest to lesbians or transgenders today. Old films from the Soviet occupation provide a profound background.
"Fish and Elephant "(Jian Nian Xia Tian, by Li Yu, China 2001) is actually the first film from mainland China to treat lesbian relationships. The low budget film is a powerful document on a relationship between a zoo keeper and shop owner--a bond they must keep secret.
In "The Edge of Each Other's Battles, the Vision of Audre Lorde", (Jennifer Abod, 2002 USA) captures a 1990 conference for the beloved poet stricken with cancer and in "Radical Harmonies" (Dee Mosbacher, 2002, USA) shows how women's music was so much a part of women's culture in the 70's and created community. Older French lesbians swayed to Cris Williamson's "Changer and the Changed".
For Movie Magazine this is Moira Sullivan, Paris FRANCE
© 2004 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 12/3/03
Cineffable Lesbian Film Festival, Paris - 2003 Report