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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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Parisian Landscapes: Cléo de 5 à 7 in the 14th Arrondissement

Bringing a feminine approach to the largely-masculine dominated
cinematic era of the Nouvelle Vague, Agnes Varda has been a pioneer of
French feminist cinema for over 40 years. Cléo de 5 à 7 traces 2 hours
in a woman’s life as she travels around Paris anxiously awaiting medical
test results. One of the key scenes in the film takes place at Parc
Montsouris in the 14th arrondissement, and Jen Wallace headed over there
to discover which landmarks featured in the movie can still be found
there.

Cléo de 5 à 7 was a pivotal film made during the Nouvelle Vague era,
and yet its director, Agnes Varda, sometimes gets lost amongst the
famous names of Godard, Truffaut, Chabrol and Resnais. However, she
deserves serious critical acclaim for bringing a different perspective
to the cinema of her time. In Cléo de 5 à 7 a young pop singer journeys
around Paris waiting for her biopsy while fearing she may have cancer.
The film takes place in relative ‘real time’ and we view Paris from two
perspectives: alternatively from her point-of-view and from an
observer’s perspective as she interacts with the city. Thus, Varda plays
with the subject/object debate of traditional cinema; Cleo is both
objectifying and objectified.

A common trait of the Nouvelle Vague was to film outdoors, and Cléo
is no exception. Iconic Parisian landscapes form a major part of the
narrative, depicted in documentary-style camera shooting. The scenes in
Parc Montsouris are hence critical to the depiction of Cléo’s character.
As she enters the park, Cléo performs a song to herself (and to the
diegetic audience) while dancing down a wooden staircase. It is a moment
that breaks the previous realism of the film, playing with the
Hollywood musical and the female lead as a star. Here, the natural
geography of the area is used as a ‘stage’ for the protagonist: she uses
the park as her theatre. This moment is both a mixture of the reality
she is living in, and her fairy-tale imagination.

Later on in the park Cléo meets a pieds-noir Algerian soldier, on
leave for a few hours in the city. They take a walk around the park past
many key landmarks such as the waterfall and sculptures, whilst
discussing Cléo’s fear for her future. This is a very subtle, yet
important reference to the early 1960s time period in which it takes
place. At this time the War of Independence in Algeria was drawing to a
close, with France facing significant defeat and losing the last of its
North-African colonies. Hence, Varda wanted her film to include this
pivotal reference to French history as it paints a more accurate picture
of Parisian life. The decision to include it is a conscious political
message, adding weight to the film and a new dimension dealing with the
modern era.

You can still see the wooden staircase and the waterfall by which
Cléo and the soldier walk – the park remains largely unchanged. There
are modern constructions obscuring the view, but it’s still a calm
haven within the busy city. Even the green cockateels native to the park
add a little exotic touch to the area. Varda herself doesn’t live too
far away, on rue Daguerre. Cléo’s character is glamorous, successful and
beautiful, but also has a fragile side of self-consciousness and
insecurity. These traits are ultimately both reflected by and amplified
in the Parisian landscape surrounding her, as this personal portrait of
the city includes the glamour of milliners and jazz cafés, but also a
raw edge to the city with subtle political messages set amongst the
backdrop of the imported nature within the Parc Montsouris. In the
self-contained world of the film, Paris is Cléo’s stage, but outside,
it’s Varda who is using the city to tell her story.

////

Paysages parisiens: Cléo de 5 à 7 dans le 14ème Arrondissement

Agnès Varda, pionnière du cinéma féministe français depuis plus de 40
ans, a apporté une approche féminine au mouvement de la Nouvelle Vague,
largement dominé par les hommes. Cléo de 5 à 7 retrace deux heures de
la vie d’une femme qui erre dans Paris en attendant avec angoisse des
résultats médicaux. L’une des scènes clés du film se situe dans le 14ème
arrondissement, dans le Parc Montsouris. Jen Wallace s’y est rendue
afin de découvrir quels éléments du film y sont encore présents.

Cléo de 5 à 7 a été un tournant dans la Nouvelle Vague, et pourtant
le nom de la réalisatrice Agnès Varda est parfois noyé parmi ceux de
Godard, Truffaut, Chabrol et Resnais. Pour avoir apporté une nouvelle
perspective au cinéma de son époque, elle mériterait cependant d’être
encensée par la critique. Dans Cléo de 5 à 7, une jeune chanteuse pop
marche dans Paris dans l’attente des résultats de sa biopsie, craignant
d’être atteinte du cancer. Le film se déroule presque en « temps réel »,
et nous montre Paris sous deux angles différents : alternativement de
son point de vue à elle, et du point de vue d’un observateur la
regardant évoluer dans la ville. Ainsi, Varda joue avec la
traditionnelle relation entre le sujet et l’objet : Cléo est les deux à
la fois.

L’un des traits caractéristiques de la Nouvelle Vague était de filmer
en extérieur, et Cléo n’y fait pas exception. Des paysages parisiens
typiques, filmés à la manière d’un documentaire, tiennent une grande
place dans le récit. Les scènes du parc Montsouris sont donc capitales
dans la description de la personnalité de Cléo. En entrant dans le parc,
elle fredonne une chanson (audible par les personnages diégétiques) et
descend des escaliers en bois en dansant. Cet épisode rompt avec le
réalisme qui prévalait jusque là, jouant avec la comédie musicale
hollywoodienne, où la femme fait figure de star. Ici, la géographie
naturelle est utilisée comme une scène par la protagoniste, qui se sert
du parc comme d’un théâtre. Ce passage mélange la réalité dans laquelle
elle vit et le monde féerique produit par son imagination.

Un peu plus tard, Cléo rencontre dans le parc un soldat algérien
pied-noir en permission à Paris pour quelques heures. Ils se promènent
ensemble, passent devant des éléments clés comme une cascade et des
sculptures, discutent de l’avenir de Cléo. Il s’agit d’une référence
subtile mais essentielle, au début des années 60, période pendant
laquelle se déroule le film. La Guerre d’Algérie touchait alors à sa
fin, et la France essuyait une défaite humiliante ses colonie d’Afrique
du Nord. C’est pourquoi Agnès Varda voulait que son film comporte un
message politique, afin de lui donner plus de poids et de lui ajouter
une nouvelle dimension qui touche l’époque moderne.

Le parc reste plutôt inchangé : on peut encore voir l’escalier en
bois et la cascade devant lesquels sont passés Cléo et le soldat. Des
constructions cachent un peu la vue, mais c’est toujours un havre de
tranquillité au coeur de l’agitation citadine. Même les cacatoès verts
nés dans le parc ajoutent une touche exotique à l’endroit. Varda
elle-même ne vit pas loin de la rue Daguerre. Cléo est une femme belle
et talentueuse, mais elle a aussi un côté fragile et manque de confiance
en elle. Ces traits sont reflétés et amplifiés par le paysage parisien
qui l’entoure : ce portrait intime de Paris décrit le côté glamour des
modistes et des jazz cafés, mais aussi un aspect plus polémique, à
travers les messages politiques exprimés sur fond de nature importée
dans le Parc Montsouris. Dans l’univers du film, Paris est une scène
pour Cléo, mais en dehors, c’est Varda qui utilise la ville pour
raconter son histoire.

 

 

 

 

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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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