Special Report: Créteil Films de Femmes 2006

By Moira Sullivan
Movie Magazine International
The annual meeting ground for women working in international cinema, Créteil Films de Femmmes Festival was held outside Paris March 10-19.
This year the theme was Utopias, and I Shot Andy Warhol by Mary Harron was one of many films screened, - a film about the controversial visionary artist and poet Valerie Solanas.

The public prize went to Both (USA/Peru 2005), a film about intersexuals, made by the Peruvian San Francisco based filmmaker Lisset Barcellos. According to the director the medical establishment surgically establishes the gender of a child with the genitalia of both sexes at birth. The records are then sealed without any possibility to monitor how the adjustment affects the individual.

The jury prize went to Sevigne by Julia Berkowitz (Spain), the story of a theatre director that must choose between her husband and the woman who has wrote the material of her latest production. Jamie Babbits The Quiet was a strong contender in the feature film competition, a film about father/daughter incest, starring Elisha Cuthbert (24), and HBO veteran Edie Falco (The Sopranos) as mother and daughter. The made for TV feel is there, with talented performance. Babbits fascination for cheerleaders, closet cases, and gender bending is polished into the woodwork of her latest feature.

Sidebars at the festival this year included a spotlight on the work of Austrian director Ruth Beckermann whose films deal with the theme of Jewish identity in Europe, and a series of shorts on "Women and Humor" sponsored by the "European Coordination of Film Festivals". Several films from Vietnam and Cambodia were also featured including Bride of Silence, Thanh Nghia Doan and Minh Phuong Doan's mythic epic is about a young man who tries to find out who is mother was after the death of his father.

This year once again the work of media artists Maria Klomaris and Katerina Thomadaki,was featured with an exhibition of their photography. Both of Greek origin and based in Paris since 1975 their work called corporeal cinema explores sexuality and androgyny. At the festival they presented the first anthology of their work written in French with an English translation in the pipelines.
Creteil devoted a special retrospective this year to Francophile Jane Birkin who released a new solo CD this month entitled Fictions with selections by a host of songwriters: Birkins film debut was in Antonionis cult classic Blowup (1966) as a teenage fan. She was married to the late singer Serge Gainsbourg, and starred with him in Je t'aime moi non plus (1969) --the theme song which has become a pop classic. Birkin has worked with several major French directors including Jacques Rivette and Agnes Varda. I caught a rare film that certainly shows the range of her acting abilities and trademark of rolled up shirt sleeves - Love on the Ground, by Jacques Rivette (1983).

For Movie Magazine, this is Moira Sullivan, Paris, FRANCE
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Créteil Films de Femmes 2006