women cinema, matrimony and sacred figures

The 45th edition of the Créteil International Women’s Film Festival will be held from March 24 to April 2, 2023 under the sign of “the factory of emancipation”. A new critics’ prize will be awarded there and the program “Elles font genre” is confirmed for a second year.

Founded in 1979, when only 2% of films were directed by women – today they sign a little more than a quarter of French production – the FIFF is the oldest women’s film festival in operation. If the progression is spectacular, we remain far from parity. This is acquired for the first fiction films – the women are even alone or in co-directing slightly in the majority -, but this is no longer the case for the third film. Women directors make less of a career, they are above all much less awarded. Let’s simply remember that since 1955, the Palme d’Or at Cannes has only been awarded twice to a woman, New Zealander Jane Campion and Frenchwoman Julia Ducournau.

Combining ethics and aesthetics, with Julie Bertuccelli, Jane Campion and Ainara Vera

It is with a beautiful tribute to the first that will open March 24 the 2023 edition of the FIFF, with the portrait by Julie Bertuccelli, Jane Campion, the woman-cinema, who, in addition to retracing with delicacy the career of an exceptional filmmaker, recalls how much the director had to face gender stereotypes in her daily work, faced with the mistrust of her teachers first, then of her producers and technical teams. The documentary ends with a message of hope. Faced with the observation of an increased feminization of the profession, Jane Campion explains that she authorized herself in 2021, with The power of tea dog, to look at male protagonists. The aceunder-representation of characters feminine remains another fundamental aspect of gender discrimination in cinema and therefore a major challenge for many directors.

When you make a documentary, I believe that ethics and aesthetics have to be inseparable” laid Spanish director Ainara Vera about Polarispresented at the end of the festival at the Lincoln cinema in Paris on April 2 before its theatrical release in France on June 21. And she adds: “I always assume that the viewer is very intelligent. (…) When everything is explained and underlined, the information often seems pornographic to me…” However, we will find nothing obscure in this sensitive portrait of two sisters linked by a heavy family past despite the diversity of their life paths. One comes out of prison when the other is a ship’s captain in the Arctic Ocean. “Find the right distance” to use the words of Ainara Vera simply allows to sublimate emotions through modesty.

From Musidora to Myriam Charles, a century and more of female cinema

Julie Bertuccelli also chairs the documentary jury – six films in competition. Another selection of six fictions is submitted for the first time to a jury of three journalists who are members of the Syndicat national de la critique de cinéma. Finally, there are thirteen short films, including five in French premiere and one in world premiere. Next to thisabounding news, we will be able to benefit from a self-portrait by Agnès Jaoui, accompanied by a carte blanche, a master-class by Rebecca Zlotowski, one of the greatest incarnations of the renewal of French cinema, several screenings by Coline Serreau and two focus , one on a monument of American underground cinema, Lizzie Borden, the other on the great German director Margarethe von Trotta, nohso much with a rare screening of his film The Years of Lead (1981), which served to retrospectively name the period of the 1970s in Germany as in Italy. Margarethe von Trotta was already honored in 1979, during the first edition of the festival.

On will also retain a round table and two films around Musidora, a pioneering and legendary artist, famous for her role as Irma Vep, whose talent as a director we will salute here, and the recovery for the second consecutive year, following the palme d’or of Titanium in 2021, from the program “Elles font genre”, dedicated to female directors who venture into a cinema that questions the codes of the fantastic. This will be the opportunity to discover the films of the Canadian director of Haitian origin Myriam Charles. Finally, literature will dialogue with cinema around the writer and 2022 Nobel Prize winner Annie Ernaux and a symposium will be dedicated to the making of emancipation, in the presence of historian Michelle Perrot, choreographer and photographer Karine Saporta and the film historian Geneviève Sellier. Such richness is dizzying and promises a week placed under the double sign of reflection and wonder.

The festival website and its complete program can be consulted here.

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Poster of the 45th Créteil Women's Film Festival.