Anna Karina in Pierre le Fou


Maria Schneider, 1983


by Moira Jean Sullivan

The Festival de Cannes Directors fortnight premiere of Maria Schneider, 1983 (16mm) by Elisabeth Subrin will be held May 26 featuring Manal Issa, Aïssa Maïga, and Isabel Sandoval. Together with other filmmakers, Subrin said she was asked to work on an experimental adaptation  for Antonioni's film Technically Sweet  from the 1980's to be shot on video - Sweet Ruin (2008).
Antonioni's film was never made when Jack Nicholson refused to shoot on location in the Amazon. He  instead made 
The Passenger (1983) with Maria Schneider and Nicholson. 
It wasn't until 2014 that Subrin started a blog dedicated to Maria Schneider called Who Cares About Actresses. This was prompted by a media interest in Schneider's negative experience on the set of Last Tango in Paris directed by  Bernardo Bertolucci. The #METOO movement got behind Schneider's story that she was sexually abused by Bertolutcci and the story was brought to international attention along with similar experiences of other women in the film business.

 Maria Schneider was open about her exploitation a long time ago. The truth was well known to the women who knew her and the organizers of Créteil International Women's Film Festival. Schneider was the guest of honor in Créteil 2001 and Movie Magazine International ran an exclusive interview with her in April 2001.

In Subrin's film three actresses repeat word for word a section of an interview made for Cinémas Cinéma with Anne Andreu and Raoul Sangla in 1983. It is also credited to Maria Schneider. It is the same part of the interview interpreted by Manal Issa, Aissa Maiga and Isabel Sandoval (who speaks English). The section is about how being an actress is dangerous, and how she was exploited by Bertolucci and Brando in Last Tango in Paris and that it was a rape on screen. This is a part of a larger film according to the filmmaker.

Maria is not in the film, only her voice in the end credits.

© 2022 - Moira Jean Sullivan: 05/18/22
Movie Magazine International

Zar Amir Ebrahimi, best acting award for Holy Spider

Powerful statement by Zar Amir Ebrahimi, best acting award for Holy Spider who was forced into exile in 2006 by a smear campaign for a film she was in. She said she had been "saved by cinema". "This film is about women, it's about their bodies, it's a movie full of faces, hair, hands, feet, breasts, sex -- everything that is impossible to show in Iran". The film is inspired by the true story of a working class man who killed prostitutes in the early 2000s and became known as the "Spider Killer". "Holy Spider" suggests there was little official pressure to catch the murderer, who ends up a hero among the religious right. "The movie is not only about a serial killer ... it's about a serial killer society..."Any serious movie that manages to get made in the Islamic Republic "is a miracle". (Ali Abbasi director).

A donkey's life at Cannes: Anne Wiazemsky and Au Hasard Balthazar.

 Eo by Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski

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Titane: a Film Criticism

The fact that there were four women on the feature film jury at Cannes this year means a lot. Even if 20 of the 24 of the films were made by men in the competition for the 74th Cannes Film Festival, how women see film and make film is different than men. The world of film critics is full of men and how they write is also different. It is not a judgement - just a fact.

I was deeply disturbed by Titane at the screening. Filmmaker Julia Ducournau is as "raw", as the title of her previous film (Raw, 2016). The cadence of this film is similar starring Garance Marillier as a vegetarian veterinarian with a minor role in the film. Ducournau has a cinematic sense that I have not encountered previously This needs some qualification. Ducournau shows how women feel. She shows their bodies in intimate detail and their facial expressions. They are doers. She shows their vulnerability and their stengths even as they are assaulted and bullied. She provides characters in which spectators can focus their "Look", not the camera but the characters who gaze on women in a sexual way, for 'the look' is the gaze of the camera, the gaze of the characters on each other and the gaze of the spectator. Because it is made by a woman she knows how to visualize female characters, not through surface reality, window dressing or mirrors of the male gaze but how they feel inside. The scenes are visceral and cathartic. Her previous films Junior and Raw show physical metamorphoses and transformations acquired through ingestion, digestion and sexuality.

Titane , like Raw begins with a crash crash. A narcissistic uncaring father (Bertrand Bonello) screams at his seven year old daughter Alexia (Adèle Guigue) in the back seat to be quiet and seconds later the car hits a barricade which sends her, not him, to the emergency room. As she sits up in bed, her head is covered with a metal vise that is clamped to keep her head erect. When she leaves the hospital after rehabilitation we see the close up on a scar that looks like brain tissue. She has received an metal implant to suture the wound. It remains and hair cannot cover it.

The opening scenes shows sex workers feeding the fantasy of men by performing erotic dances on top of revved up sedans in a car show . The men desire them but after the exhibitions, Alexia turns it off. One pursuer asks for an autograph, then a kiss, and in response, she plummets him in the head with a long black metal speke. Leaning over the window he exudes white foam from his mouth. Later that night there is a loud pounding at her door and she opens it, It leads to a garage, where revved up sedan is waiting for her , entraps her with seatbelts and has sex with her. She becomes pregnant but after an examination, her father, a physician, claims she is not.

In the dressing room Alexia is drawn to Justine (Garance Marillier) and follows her home where she lives in a collective of sex workers. After a failed sexual encounter she proceeds to attack Justine her weaponized hair pin and attacks her housemate except an MTF. Next up in her warpath is her father who goes up in flames. Alexia's mug shot is described to the police and is on the news that is scene in public monitors. To cover her tracks, she shaves her heads and binds her chest in a service stop lavoratory. Alexia becomes Adrien. The names are used for the main characters in Raw.

Central to both films are rituals involving contests of feats. In Raw it is for the induction of new students into vet school. In Titane it is for the ordeals of firemen. Titane is flame resistant film art.

© 2021 - Moira Jean Sullivan - 07/21/21
CinéFemme - Annakarinaland


74th Cannes Film Festival: Top prizes awarded to women

Awards night at the 74th Cannes Film Festival was special with so many of the top prizes going to women. Women constituted the majority of the feature film competition jury- five out of nine - for the first time in the festival's history.

Feature Films



Un Certain Regard
The five-member Un Certain Regard Jury had three women
(six of the nine prizes awarded to women.

Hafsia HERZI

Teodora Ana MIHAI


Two other festival juries - one for the Camera d'or award, the other for Cinefondation and Short Films - were also headed by women.
Carina-Gabriela DASOVEANU

Palme d'or Short Films
Hong Kong Tang Yi (New York University student).


The Power of No and #MeToo within the film industry: Harvey Weinstein convicted of sexual assault and rape

Reprinted from
March 9, 2020

  • Hollywood producers, directors, cast, and crew who are sexual predators and abusers are part of the history of the motion picture industry. Harvey Weinstein attempted to negate the power of solidarity among women who declared they had been abused by claiming it was consensual or that he did not recall the events survivors were describing. The film industry is not unique as a site for sexual assault or provocation, but because of the widespread number of women who spoke out, this case has become globally applicable to a multitude of work environments where women have stood up and declared #MeToo. #MeToo is synonymous with Harvey Weinstein and his rampage of sexual assault of women in Hollywood in the film industry, but #MeToo has grown from this case to expose predators in other places of employment. 

Adele Haenel
For over a century, we have seen sexual violence in films and television but recently have learned about an overwhelming preponderance behind the scenes by producer Harvey Weinstein, who has made several Oscar-winning films. If history is written by the conquerors, the women — like Talara Wulff, Dawn Dunning and Annabella Sciorra, who have come forward to testify against him — are re-writing it. Calling it a “movement” after centuries of abuse is a misnomer — it is an action. Sexual assault is a historical practice, and breaking the silence of its existence threatens predators who have historically lived above the law without recrimination. Without action from #MeToo they will continue to do so. Sexual assault cases are hard to prove. Testimonies are meticulously dissected on cases that because of shame and fear keep women silent, where the evidence is often ephemeral. However, safety is in numbers and #MeToo has the earmarks of  a “class action suit.” Catherine MacKinnon’s 1979 study Sexual Harassment of Working Women: A case of sex discrimination was the groundwork to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act: Sexual Harassment of Working Women, work discrimination based on gender, and #MeToo is leveling the ground.
The women who gave testimony at the Weinstein trial reveal how their humiliation and assault ruined and diminished their careers. His rampage as a Hollywood mogul ended when they and countless other women broke their silence. Significantly, these truthsayers defy the unspoken or whispered belief that women will do anything to advance their careers in the entertainment industry and keep silent about it.
Jettisoning to trial on his rollator walker, Harvey engaged powerhouse defense attorney Donna Rotunno to argue his plea of not guilty. The use of a woman to discredit other women was a strategy. The transformation of a powerful independent mogul into a broken-down wronged man had a purpose – to win the jury’s sympathy and dismiss the case or receive a lenient sentence. The hard facts of six key witnesses were questioned by the defense and Manhattan district attorney prosecutor Cyrus R. Vance Jr.
The jury aquitted Weinstein on February 24 on two counts of predatory sexual assault that would have meant a life in prison as a sexual predator. The testimony of Annabella Sciorra was crucial.  She reported that she had been raped by Weinstein in 1994. Three years later she revealed she was sexually harassed by Weinstein at Cannes while promoting Copland produced by his company Miramax. The testimony of Mimi Haley’s sexual assault, a former production assistant, and the testimony of actress Jessica Mann that she was raped resulted in Weinstein being charged with two counts of rape and criminal sexual acts. 

Jessica Mann (right)

The Weinstein case exposed the cycle of violence against women and decontructed  the belief that women who kept in contact with Weinstein were complicit in their own abuse. The testimony of an expert witness on sex crime, forensic scientist Dr. Barbara Ziv, was powerful and instrumental to Weinstein’s conviction. Two days later she was hit by a car and left with broken bones. Law & Crime reported that the timeliness of the accident is suspicious. 
The Weinstein case moves on to California next and with the New York conviction the former producer has been brought to justice. His career is over after decades of tyrannizing at least 90 women in the film industry who wanted to advance their careers with a producer with a track record of award winning films. Weinstein is presently incarcerated in Rikers Island in New York, awaiting sentencing and may get 29 years in prison on March 11. Fortunately this trial has charged Weinstein and he will remain in prison.
Ironically, March 10 is the day after Roman Polanski was declared guilty on five charges of rape and drugging of a minor in 1977 and fled the US to avoid imprisonment. He can never return and must avoid countries that can extradite him.  
Since women spoke out about Weinstein, other women have come forward in the global film industry. At the 2020 César Awards in Paris on February 28, Portrait of a Woman on Fire was nominated for 11 awards and won best cinematography.  Following the Weinstein verdict, French director Céline Sciamma and actress Adèle Haenel shouting “bravo pedophilia”  and several other women left the room when the best director award went to Roman Polanski for J’Accuse (An Officer and a Spy). Haenel reported in November she had been subjected to “permanent sexual harassment” from the age of 12 to 15 years by French director Christophe Ruggia, who denied the allegations and was arrested. She was adamant that pedophilic directors not be rewarded prizes. 

Miriam Haley

At least five women have come forward since Polanski fled the US stating that he raped and drugged them as minors. According to French feminist activist Ursula Le Menn, Osez le Féminisme (“Dare to be feminist”), Polanski’s latest film implicitly seems to draw a parallel between himself as an innocent man and Alfred Dreyfus, who was accused and later exonerated for his crimes of treason in 1894. 
French feminist groups (Associations Féministes) proclaimed “If rape is an art, give Polanski all the Caesars!” Polanski did not attend the César ceremonies to avoid a large protest, a protest that we hope has forever changed the César Awards.
The success of predatory directors and producers who make prize-winning films such as Polanski and Weinstein is predicated on their practice of sexual assault and harassment. It is time to stop rewarding filmmakers whose careers are built on crimes against women.This is a difficult task when the personal lives of filmmakers are considered separate from their work. Many directors who abused women now will not be able to work again, but Weinstein managed to survive for years until women allied with each other in protest. #MeToo, born from the Weinstein assaults, has sent a riptide effect through society where predators are quickly being brought to task by their victims all over the world. Let’s hope that practice continues for decades to come and transforms the industry at its core.


Time out from news on Anna Karina

The day after the news of Anna Karina's death the news media truncated her life eclipsed by a former husband of four years in a 79 year old life. Mostly she is credited for being an icon. She is not credited as a great actor, a filmmaker or singer. Time to start ignoring the usual news feed stories.


Katherine Hepburn in 'Summertime'



David Lean
Review byMoira Sullivan
Posted on11 July 2004
SourceHome Vision VHS
Summertime was shot exclusively in Venice. And for those who have been to Venice, the film is a rare treasure; an historical homage to a city once enamored by tourists, with very few cameras, and mostly well dressed Italians. Today the dress is more casual, and the deluge of international tourists milling around removes a part of this floating museum with every step.
For David Lean, it was his favorite film starring his favorite actress. In her autobiography, Me, Katherine Hepburn remarked, “they called me and said that David Lean was going to direct it. ‘Would I be…’ they didn’t need to finish that sentence.” Hepburn said she first lived on the island of Murano, where the famous Murano glass is made, not Venice proper with its maze of narrow streets and bridges. Together with her entourage, she quickly moved into an apartment near the Grand Canale, the major water route, opposite the famous Gritti hotel where David Lean camped. (She even had her own gondola.) One of the most sought after Venetian tourist items is of course Murano glass: “glass, glass and more glass,” according to the dialogue. Given that Venice footed the entire bill of $36,000 for the film, Summertime is seen as pure tourist promotion.
Summertime is about Jane Hudson (Hepburn), a middle-aged “fancy secretary” from Akron, Ohio who saves up for a three-week dream vacation in Venice. Arriving by train to Piazza Roma via the Orient Express, Paris-Venice, complete with a hand-wound 8-mm camera, she takes the vaporetto, the public water bus rather than a gondola or water taxi. An American couple on board happens to be staying at the same boarding house, Pensioni Fiorini on the Accademia water bus stop (the Peggy Guggenheim home is located here). Jane coyly indicates to the pensioni proprietress that she, like most girls under 50, is searching for something. On her first day out on the Piazza San Marco Jane meets a handsome middle aged man, Renato Di Rossi (Rossano Brazzi), an antique dealer, and enters into a romance which becomes all the more passionate because he is married although separated.
Lean had six shades of red goblets blown especially for the film. In one scene, Jane discovers Renato charged almost the same amount for 18th century glass as fresh imitations, a discovery that produces rage. It becomes quite clear that Jane is losing her rocker, displaying a passion that eclipses the bravura of Brazzi. She is hysterical, insisting people drink with her to quiet her loneliness, and has flash floods of intermittent tears. Hepburn actually had problems with Spencer Tracy and the film crew, despite the glass commercials, and she was considered an irritating obstacle to tourism.
Lean’s intention with the film was to capture a child at play: Jane’s awe of Venice and the excitement of new love. An Italian child becomes her escort, one that she at first rebukes — she is not that desperate, but she and Renato later play with wind up toys at a café. “You are like a hungry child that only wants beefsteak not ravioli. Please take the ravioli,” says Renato when she starts to question the affair. “I’m not that hungry,” says Jane. But Renato convinces her of the need for a Latin approach, “the ravioli approach” to love and sexuality. Her red goblets transform to a pair of sparkling red shoes, noticeably evocative of Dorothy’s ruby slippers, as fireworks fills the sky. The charm of Venice and typical Italian love songs give the film the aura of a melodrama, a woman’s weepie, but the storyline is too thin. The film also prods American and Italian stereotypes, such as the shock of promiscuous Italians to the more pristine Americans. (Keep in mind the film has a British director.) The travelogue veneer and the superficial story make Summertime a corny gem.
Hepburn claims Lean absorbed the city and had a photographic gift for conveying his impressions. Indeed, after every minute of dialogue a breathtaking view of the city is displayed, drawing inspiration from the play The Time of the Cuckoo by Arthur Laurents, which is made to fit his pictures.
In one memorable scene Hepburn falls into the Venetian canal, an action that would be repugnant today in the foul water, filled with industrial pollution from neighboring Maestre. Reportedly, the water temporarily blinded Katherine and today anyone who falls into the canal is advised to take antibiotics. Medieval Venice was built on pilings and dead bodies were dropped into the canal to rot. A foreshadowing of the duplicity of the canal occurs when Jane first sets eyes on a gondola floating by, a view tainted by the dumping of sewage from an apartment. It is the also the water that carries her first flower from Renato, a flower that never quite stays in her possession even as she pulls away from the city. “Please help me Renato,” she begs, “let me go.” She has grown up, and if she stays a second longer she will never go. Brazzi actually first interpreted his role as a gigolo, (“another girl will arrive tomorrow”), a portrayal Lean thought too grim.
In the UK, the film was called Summer Madness. It is a far more appropriate title.