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ÉCU-The European Independent Film Festival


ÉCU - The European Independent Film Festival is dedicated to the discovery and advancement of the very best independent films from around the world. We are a festival who believes in our independent filmmakers and their artistic talents. ÉCU proudly provides a unique platform that brings together diverse audiences who are hungry for something other than major studio productions and original and innovative filmmakers. 

 
The 16th edition of ÉCU - The European Independent Film Festival will take place on 9th-11th April 2021. Now open for submissions!

 

 

 

For more details regarding the festival, please visit our website at www.ecufilmfestival.com

 

 


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Brune/Blonde at the Cinémathèque Française

Eyebrows were raised when the Cinémathèque Française announced its
October – January exhibition ‘Brune/Blonde’, so Jen Wallace decided to
pay a visit to see if hair in Cinema really was the cultural-talking
point that the exhibition claimed it to be.

Throughout cultural history, hair is something that has always
defined an era and played an important role in more richly developing
the physical appearance of any female character. Greek tragedies,
Pre-Raphaelite painters and Shakespeare all made references to women’s
hair, showing a fascination and an appeal that has lasted for centuries.

Hence, for the ‘Brune/Blonde’ exhibition the Cinémathèque Française
has dedicated an entire floor of artistic examples to the subject,
ranging from film clips and sculptures to paintings and magazine covers –
all exposed in various themed rooms. The Cinémathèque offers insightful
spaces designed to reflect the hair-themed ‘message’ of the works
included, from red velvet curtains and crystal chandeliers for the 1950s
star studded musicals such as Gilda, to hairdressing salons presented
in Arabic, Asian and African-American styles.

Aside from obvious links to sensuality and darker sexual themes of
fetishism, the Cinémathèque has picked examples where hair can seem to
symbolize more fundamental human issues in Cinema.

The strongest message of the exhibition seems to be that hairstyles
reflect trends of an era, and can tell us something about the position
of women in society at that time. Marilyn Monroe and Rita Hayworth are
elegantly coiffed in the Hollywood musicals of the 40s/50s, creating the
glamourous idealisation of the star system. The exhibition juxtaposes
these classic Hollywood representations with photographic works by
Shirin Neshat and Marc Garanger, who portrayed Arabic women posing with
their heads covered, or not. There is even a ‘global’ view of hair in
Cinema, with a world map designed to show us the different hair styles
at particular countries.

Another representation of hair comes from its use as a plot device.
Transformations of female characters are often represented by changes of
hairstyles, so that she can take on a new identity, either willingly or
not. In Almodóvar’s Broken Embraces, Penélope Cruz’s character tries on
a variety of wigs to mimic famous actresses – and this character
transformation is used as major plot device.

In the final space, the exhibition tries to put forward the idea of
hair as an abstract notion; hair as an artistic method of creating a
cultural piece. There seems to be a lack of examples of this concept,
except for sculptures made of real hair by Jannis Kounellis.

Although these sculptures were the only examples of real hair that I
could see throughout the exhibition, it was clear that the Cinémathèque
is trying to create a multi-sensorial experience. As you wander through
the spaces, various fabrics and long, thin strands of material
continuously entice you to touch them.

For me, the highlight of the exhibition was the 6 short films shown
in a small viewing room, which last for approximately 30 minutes. These
were varied shorts from all over the world, the theme of hair and the
female protagonist being the clear link between them. I felt like I’d
finally got my 6.5€ admission fee’s worth.

Hitchcock himself said that ‘the perfect woman of mystery is one who
is blonde, subtle and nordic’, and whilst this may have been his own
very narrow minded view of hair, the exhibition makes a worthwhile
attempt to show the variety of cinematic treatments of the subject. All
things considered, a very pertinent cinematic theme is reflected
accurately in this tactile exhibition.

///

Bien des sourcils se sont haussés lorsque la Cinémathèque a annoncé
son exposition d’octobre à janvier “Brune/Blonde”, c’est pourquoi Jen
Wallace est allé voir si la chevelure dans le cinéma est vraiment un
sujet de discussion culturel intéressant.

À travers l’histoire, les cheveux ont toujours défini une période et
joué un rôle important dans le développement physique des personnages
féminins. Les tragédies grecques, les peintres préraphaélites et
Shakespeare ont tous fait référence aux cheveux de la femme, montrant
une fascination et un attrait qui dure depuis des siècles.

La Cinémathèque dédie donc un étage entier à des exemples artistiques
concernant le sujet : des vidéos de films aux sculptures en passant par
des couvertures de magazines et des peintures, tous exposés dans des
pièces aux thèmes variés. L’exposition offre des espaces ludiques créés
pour refléter les messages capillaires des oeuvres présentés, par
exemple des rideaux et velours rouge ou des chandeliers en cristal pour
les stars des comédies musicales des années 50 comme Gilda, ou des
salons de coiffure de style Arabe, Asiatique ou Afro-Américain.

En plus de liens évidents avec la sensualité ou le thème sexuel plus
obscur du fétichisme, la Cinémathèque a aussi choisi de traiter des cas
où les cheveux peuvent symboliser des questions plus “humaines” dans le
cinéma.

Le message le plus fort délivré par l’exposition semble être que les
coupes de cheveux reflètent les tendances d’une époque, et peuvent nous
éclairer sur la position que pouvaient occuper les femmes dans la
société à cette période. Marilyn Monroe et Rita Hayworth sont coiffées
élégamment dans les comédies musicales des années 40/50 et créent une
idéalisation glamour du star system. L’exposition confronte ces
représentations hollywoodiennes classiques avec les travaux
photographiques de Shirin Neshat et Marc Garanger, qui on fait des
portaits de femmes Arabes voilées ou non. L’exposition offre même une
vue “globale” sur les cheveux au cinéma, avec une carte du monde conçue
pour nous montrer différentes coiffures dans plusieurs pays.

Les cheveux peuvent aussi être un point clé de l’intrigue. Les
transformations des personnages féminins sont souvent representé par des
changements de coupe de cheveux, et adoptent donc une nouvelle
identité, volontairement ou non. Dans Étreintes brisées, le personnage
que Penélope Cruz incarne essaye plusieurs perruques pour imiter des
actrices célèbres : c’est une étape importante dans le déroulement du
scénario.

Dans le dernier espace la chevelure est présentée comme une notion
abstraite, qui serait une méthode artistique pour créer une oeuvre
d’art. On note toutefois un manque d’exemples, à part les sculptures
faites de cheveux de Jannis Kounellis.

Bien que ce soient les seuls vrais cheveux que l’on peut voir pendant
l’exposition, il semble clair que la Cinémathèque a voulu créer une
expérience multi sensorielle. Alors que l’on évolue à travers les
différents espaces, de longues et fines couches de différentes
matières évoquant des cheveux vous invitent à les toucher.

Pour moi, la meilleure partie de l’exposition est la petite pièce où
sont projetés 6 courts métrages qui durent environ 30 minutes. Ce sont
des films variés venant du monde entier, et le thème de la chevelure
féminine est le lien clair entre eux. J’ai enfin senti que l’exposition
valait les 6,50 euros du billet d’entrée.

Hitchock a dit que “La parfaite femme à mystères doit être blonde,
subtile et nordique”, ce qui est une affirmation bien radicale tant
l’exposition est une tentative réussie de montrer la variété du sujet.
Tout bien réfléchi, c’est un thème cinématographique très pertinent qui
est traité dans cette exposition tactile.

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About ÉCU-The European Independent Film Festival

Hillier Scott
(ECU)

 

 

Scott Hillier, Founder and President of ÉCU - The European Independent Film Festival
 
Scott Hillier is a director, cinematographer, and screenwriter, based in Paris, France. In the last 20 years, Hillier has gained international recognition from his strong and incredible cinematography, editing, writing, producing and directing portfolio in both the television and film industries.  
 
Scott began his career in the television industry in Australia. In 1988, he moved to London getting a job with the BBC who then set him to Baghdad. This opportunity led him to 10 years of traveling around world for the BBC, mainly in war zones like Somalia, Bosnia, Tchetcheynia, Kashmir, and Lebanon. After a near fatal encounter with a Russian bomber in Tchechnyia, Hillier gave up his war coverage and began in a new direction. 
 

He moved to New York City in 1998.  He directed and photographed eight one-hour documentaries for National Geographic and The Discovery Channel. Based on his war knowledge and experience, Hillier wrote and directed a short film titled, “Behind the Eyes of War!" The film was awarded “Best Short Dramatic Film” at the New York Independent Film and TV Festival in 1999. From that he served as Supervising Producer and Director for the critically acclaimed CBS 42 part reality series, "The Bravest” in 2002 and wrote and directed a stage play called, "Deadman’s Mai l," which ran at Le Théâtre du Moulin de la Galette in Paris during the summer of 2004. He then became the Director of Photography on a documentary titled, “Twin Towers." This was yet another life changing experience for Hillier. The riveting documentary won an Academy Award for "Best Documentary Short Subject" in 2003. In 2004, Hillier changed continents again, spending three months in Ethiopia. He produced “Worlds Apart,” a pilot for ABC America / True Entertainment / Endemol. As you can see, Hillier was and is always in constant movement and enjoys working in a number of diverse creative areas including documentaries, music videos, commercials, feature and short films.

 
Scott studied film at New York University and The London Film and Television School. He also studied literary non-fiction writing at Columbia University. Hillier's regular clients include the BBC, Microsoft, ABC, PBS and National Geographic. Between filming assignments, he used to teach film, a Masters Degree course in Screenwriting at the Eicar International Film School in Paris, France and journalism at the Formation des Journalistes Français in Paris, France. 
 

 


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