Anna Karina in Pierre le Fou


Aline Tashjian: Lesbian Feminist Cinéaste from Paris

Tribute to Aline Tashjian:  Lesbian Feminist and Cineáste from Paris

Soft-spoken and articulate Aline Tashjian passed away in Paris on September 23 after a long illness.
She was an ardent supporter of lesbian feminism and feminist cinema through the years and regularly attended the Créteil Films de Femmes International Women's film festival and the Cineffable Lesbian Film Festival, both in Paris.These are ongoing festivals where women can meet each year and see images of women, made by women, and how women live in other countries. Festival goers also come to catch up with their own community. The festivals are the best places for political activism and social contact in an international atmosphere of solidarity for women.

Créteil, March 2011.

If you wanted to know the films that were worth seeing at these festivals, you could consult Aline's program and her selections. Wherever there was a choice between the petite or the grand salle, Aline was among the women that chose the most provocative films with the most potent themes. 

Créteil Films de Femmes, March 2011. Festival director Jackie Buet (right), 2011.

These choices included political films about oppression, strong portraits of women who have made important contributions to culture, global portraits of women and their conditions in the work force and films with an artistic content that combine intelligent narratives with good visual imagery.

Aline loved to travel with her life partner Manue and recently went on trips to China, Greece and to Armenia where part of her French family originates. Her concern about health and good nutrition made you always think of the importance of the quality of life.  She was a hard worker and yet she took time to fill her life with valuable activities such as meeting good friends, sharing meals with fresh food from organic farming collectives, and demonstrating for just causes in Paris. Just for fun, she loved watching crime scene TV programs in the evening with Manue, who shared with her a dedicated interest in the Créteil and Cineffable festivals.  

Fluent in English, Aline attended French university where she studied various subjects such as film and media. She worked full time in the IT aviation industry and was respected in her field.
It is hard to imagine a world without Aline Tashjian, for she was truly a remarkable person with respect and consideration for transformative ideas and the people she loved. She leaves her life partner Manue and a number of good friends in the French and international community. Her contributions to valuable discussions at Créteil and Cineffable were important. The quality of her life makes our experiences with her vital and memorable. 

I came to know Aline through the Paris film festivals in the late 90's. I was immediately struck by her sincerity, intelligence and compassion for lesbian feminism and global women issues, and the inherent connections to issues of economics, the environment and pacifism - and how these all translated to the film medium. Conversations with Aline were always engaging and thorough. She and Manue introduced me to some of the internal discussions in French feminism, which are otherwise difficult for a French non-native. During the festivals we had many wonderful times together. I am grateful for this long lasting friendship, which is one of the most important ones I have.

Aline's Quartier
Little China in Belleville, Paris.
Belleville, March 2011.
In a video portrait (click above) by "Toxic Lesbian" created by Elena Toxico only last year (August 2010), Aline speaks of the beginnings of the lesbian feminist movement and the case of psychiatric treatment of lesbians. She explains that her political involvement did not begin as a lesbian feminist but with the pacifist movement and anti-war protests of the Vietnam war.
"Toxic Lesbian emerged in 2005 as a pure artistic language to virtual and live action, creation and investigation processes, including all kind of collaborations. An essential concept of the proposals is to generate works that do not have a commercial format but ephemeral and easy to disseminate ones.  In this sense, all proposed projects strongly connected with art, are conceived like performances. Around them, video art productions are the link with the visual language that will generate documentaries about collective social interaction and other testimonies related to the project" (Toxic Lesbian).

Moira Sullivan
San Francisco, September 30, 2011.