At the Créteil film festival: women cinema, matrimony and sacred figures

Poster of the film Jane Campion, la Femme Cinéma by Julie Bertucelli. © Fish Films

Text by: Olivier Favier Follow

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


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Founded in 1979, when only 2% of films were directed by women – they now account for just over a quarter of French production – FIFF is the oldest active women's film festival. If the progression is spectacular, we remain far from parity. This is acquired for the first fiction films – women are even alone or in co-direction slightly majority – but this is no longer the case for the third film. Women directors have less careers, they are especially much less awarded. Let us simply recall that since 1955, the Palme d'Or at Cannes has only been awarded twice to a woman, the New Zealander Jane Campion and the French Julia Ducournau.

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

It is with a beautiful tribute to the premiere that the 24 edition of the FIFF will open on March 2023, with the portrait made by Julie Bertuccelli, Jane Campion, the woman-cinema, who, in addition to delicately retracing the career of an exceptional filmmaker, recalls how much the director had to confront gender stereotypes in the daily life of her work, faced with the mistrust of its teachers first, then of its 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 allowed herself in 2021, with The power of the dog, to focus her gaze on male protagonists. The under-representation of female characters remains another fundamental aspect of gender discrimination in cinema and therefore a major issue for many female directors.


When you make a documentary, I believe that ethics and aesthetics must be inseparable," asks Spanish director Ainara Vera about Polaris, presented at the closing 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 highlighted, the information often seems pornographic to me... However, we will not find anything abstruse in this sensitive portrait of two sisters linked by a heavy family past despite the diversity of their life paths. One gets out of prison while the other is a boat captain in the Arctic Ocean. "Finding the right distance" in the words of Ainara Vera simply sublimates 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 members of the National Union of Film Critics. Finally, thirteen short films were added, five of which had their French premiere and one had its world premiere. Alongside this abundant 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 focuses, one on a monument of American underground cinema, Lizzie Borden, the other on the great German director Margarethe von Trotta, notably with a rare screening of his film The Years of Lead (1981), which was used to retrospectively name the period of the 1970s in Germany and Italy. Margarethe von Trotta was already in the spotlight in 1979, during the first edition of the festival.

We will also remember 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 will be hailed here, and the resumption for the second consecutive year, following the Palme d'Or of Titanium in 2021, of the program "Elles font genre", dedicated to women directors who venture into a cinema that questions the codes of the fantastic. It will be an opportunity to discover the films of Haitian-born Canadian director 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 film historian Geneviève Sellier. Such richness makes you dizzy and promises a week under the double sign of reflection and wonder.

The festival website and its full program can be found here.

To go further:

  • The 50/50 collective.
  • Will parity and diversity arrive in French cinema?
  • Véronique Le Bris honors 100 great films by female directors.

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

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