Creteil Festival 2000

The 22nd Créteil International Women’s Film Festival ended April 2. This year’s focus was women film directors from the Mediterranean. The guest of honor was Iréne Papas, the powerful Greek actress with 5000 years of dramatic tradition behind her, including a host of contemporary films such as Michael Cacoyannis’ ‘Zorba the Greek’ and ‘Electra’. Also present was the magnificent Italian screenwriter Suso Cecchi D’amico, who worked on films with director Luchino Visconti including the classic ‘Sandra’ made in 1965 starring Claudia Cardinale. A surprise guest this year was the famous Indian actress Shabana Azmi, star of over 140 films, who recently appeared in Deepha Mehta’s film of female desire ‘Fire’. Fiercely protested against by Indian fundamentalists, ‘Fire’ is followed by Mehta’s ‘Water’, now in production, about the practice of burning Indian widows alive during the 1930’s. Azmi who had to shave her hair for the film, says she’ll have to do it again, because of recent protests which have held up production.

This year’s Créteil festival also featured a ‘preview’ premiere of ‘Boys’ Don’t Cry by Kimberly Peirce, recently released in France , with a visit direct from the Oscar’s by the director.

Both the ‘prix du public’--public prize and the best young adult film this year went to Jamie Babbit of the US for ‘But I’m a Cheerleader’--a kitchy comedy about rehabilitation camps for homosexuals. Notable is the loud colors of the mis-en-scene and gendered dress code. Babbits film will come to San Francisco this summer and she points out that these camps actually originated in this area.

Next year's 2001 festival will be held in the spring.