Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Créteil Films de Femmes Palmarès 2018

By Moira Sullivan
Joanna Scanlan and Lily Newmark in "Pin Cushion"

The 40th edition of the Créteil International Women’s Film Festival ended on March 18 after a 10-day run that began on March 9. The palmarès - awards - were given out on March 17. This festival was outstanding in many ways. The films selected by programmer Norma Guevara were excellent and nearly every screening contained a film of high quality. One of my favorites was The Road Forward, an innovative musical documentary directed by Marie Clements, on Canada's First Nations activism and history going back to the 1930’s. The stories are told by Native brothers and sisters who are artists and performers that reveal their strength and experience in a dynamic film form.

The Prix du Public - "Public Prize" went to Pin Cushion by Deborah Haywood from the UK –a story about a teenage girl and her mother Lyn. They both move to a new town for a fresh start, but Iona falls in with the wrong crowd - a group of snobbish teens that treat her with disrespect. Lyn is called the town freak because of her eccentric homespun clothing and also is desperate to make new friends. The art direction of the film is brilliant, and the story is one that is endearing and tragic, based in part on the life experiences of the filmmaker.

The Polish film Birds are Singing in Kigali by Joanna Kos-Krauze and Krzysztof Krauze (2017) built around the Rwanda genocide of 1994, received special mention from the Jury. The Jury Prize went to Medea by Alexandra Latishev Salazar, a film about 25-year Maria Josée is 25 who grows up with parents who don’t care about her and  takes a special interest in a young boy. Unbeknownst to all she is pregnant and from the title it is clear that her relationship to the unborn will fateful.

On the occasion of the 40th film festival two filmmakers Chris Lagg and Sophie Nogier made an excellent documentary - Chroniques d'un festival" Partie 1 and 2 that chronicles the history of the festival with interviews with director Jackie Buet and the former co-director Elizabeth Trehard. The festival originated in the Parisian suburb of Sceaux in 1978 and later moved to Créteil where the prefecture government took a great interest in the event and helped sponsor it. The film shows how many filmmakers and actresses have guested the festival through the years – such as Mira Nair, Anna Karina, Catherine Deneuve, Bernadette LaFont, Dominic Blanc, Julie Dash, Kimberley Peirce, Susanne Osten, Ulrika Ottinger and countless others. The film has a good tempo with excellent editing – a fitting testimony to this retrospective of 40 years of women behind the camera and on screen. If there is any doubt that there are women behind the camera in droves, this film proves it.

© 2018 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 03/21/18
Movie Magazine International

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