Tuesday, March 24, 2009

31st International Women’s Film Festival – Creteil Award Winners

Yesterday the fest started in Creteil, France and here are the feature films they will screen in competition. Needless is to say that this is one of my very favorite festivals.

Apron Strings, Sima Urale, New Zealand, 2008
Anita, chef on a cooking channel, had cut ties with her family 20 years before her son went searching for a long lost aunt. Love and the joy of cooking become muddled in this tale about two mothers who have to confront the incomprehensions of the past in order to free their sons from them. Sometimes you need to detach from certain things in order to grow and find yourself.

Chega de Saudade (The Ballroom), Lais Bodanzky, Brazil, 2008 - Winner of the Special Jury Award
Set over the course of one evening in a traditional Brazilian dance hall, Chega de Saudade invites its audience to participate in the electric atmosphere of the ballroom. The characters who attend the ball each week, remember the past, imagine the future, have fun, flirt, fight and, of course, dance, their inner most passions and desires unfold in eyes.

Hiver (Les grands Chats), Marianne Pistone and Gilles Deroo, France, 2008
The trees shed their leaves under cats’ heads. Mimi watches from the window ; what a waste. He doesn’t give a rats ass about the coming of winter, he’s got butterflies in his stomach. He’s simply waiting for his love. Soon enough they will be having fun and snuggling under the bus stop. Winter comes down on us like a prison sentence. I would have liked Mimi to have stayed intact, nothing should have gotten to him, not even winter.

Jas sum od Titov Veles (I am from Titov Veles), Teona S. Mitevska, Macedonia, France, Belgium and Slovenia, 2007
The film tells the story of three sisters. Afrodita, the youngest of three, has not spoken since their father’s death and their mother’s sudden departure. Sapho, is preparing to make a fresh start in life and drug-addicted Slavica, the oldest, works in a factory. The film centres on the three sisters battle to overcome their lot in life, in a “city of lost souls” scarred by industrialisation and environmental damage.

Niu Lang Zhi Nu (Knitting), Yin Lichuan, China, 2008 - Winner of the Jury Grand Prix for Best Film
Knitting’s luminous strokes depict three stories of migrant youth, friendship, love, hate and survival set against the erosion of life in the outskirts of a Chinese megalopolis. Li Daping is an introverted northern girl. With no particular skills and an obstinate love for Chen Jin. Life does not seem to have much in store for Daping. Quiet, contented simplicity fills the small place she shares with Chen. One day, however, trouble walks into Daping’s life. With red lips and cheap shades, Zhang Haili materializes out of Chen’s dubious past.

Mamam est chez le coiffeur, Lea Pool, Canada, 2008
Check the review here.

El Patio de mi Carcel (My Prison Yard), Belen Macias, Spain, 2007 - Winner of the Audience Award and Special Jury Award for Best Female Ensemble
Have seen it but haven’t written the review yet, so here is the synopsis.
Is a story about women, about female inmates, excluded from life. It is the story of Isa, a caustic yet generous thief unable to adapt to life outside prison, and her friends. Dolores, a blonde gypsy who killed her husband, Rosa a tender prostitute, Ajo in love with Pilar, Luisa, a naïve Colombian surprised by an environment she doesn’t understand… The arrival of Mar, a prison worker, embarks the women on a journey towards freedom.

Un Jour en Province, Ekaterina Chagalova, Russia, 2008
The tragic past (the war in Chechnya for young men, with its share of irreparable injury), the hopeless present and clogged up future, are in other words « just a day in the life of Ivan and his friends » in this small town in deepest Russia. But it is also « aspecial day », since the incursion of the other Russia, that of the shining light of the city and success, will precipitate events in this microcosm in which Good and Evil do not make human beings tear each other apart, but carve up the heart of every soul. A modern Russian tragedy. (Fipresci award Moscow International Film Festival 2008)

Winterstilte (Winter Silence), Sonja Wyss, Netherlands, 2008
In a snowed-in log cabin, a widow lives with her four grown-up daughters, all with heir own desires for love and intimacy. The strong Catholic faith and their mourning that has tormented them for years, has condemned them to a life of chastity. Mysterious deer-men change their existence.

El Niño Pez (The Fish Child), Lucia Puenzo, Argentina, Spain and France, 2009 (A Must Be Seen)
Lala lives in one of Buenos Aires’ most exclusive residential areas. She is passionately in love with Guayi, a twenty-year-old Paraguayan girl who has been employed by Lala’s parents to work at their home. The two young women dream of living in Paraguay, somewhere on the banks of Lak Ypoá….

The fest will screen 150 films, docs and shorts from women directors, so if you feel like browsing the site go here but it’s available only in French. To check all the award winners go here.

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