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Film Femmes

PARIS — Hollywood has its boys club, full of swaggering Scorseses, Soderberghs, Spielbergs and the like. But in Paris, female filmmakers are swiftly rising to the top of the cinematic heap. The most talked-about movies in France this winter are...

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And beautiful ones at that. Films directed by women have been on the rise since Marshall won a César, the French equivalent of an Oscar, for "Institute" in 1999, and Agnes Jaoui earned various prizes for "The Taste of Others" in 2000.

To succeed in this business, everyone agrees talent is the key — and a good physical condition. After directing her first movie, Jaoui says she never imagined how exhausting the job would be. Labrune agrees: "I love directing because it is a strength-testing experience as well as a psychic and energy-weakening experience."

Now, French actresses are out to try directing for themselves, among them Sophie Marceau, Isabelle Nanty and Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi.

"For many of them, it is a way of being in charge and expressing things they were not offered as actresses," explains Daniel Toscan Duplantier, president of Unifrance, which promotes French movies abroad. "So many women in this business is wonderful news. There could not be progress without women’s eyes and judgment."
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