Written & Directed by Céline Sciamma
Produced by Produced by Bénédicte Couvreur, Rémi Burah and Olivier Père
Cinematography by Crystel Fournier
• Karidja Touré
• Assa Sylla
• Lindsay Karamoh
• Mariétou Touré
Released: January 30, 2015 (USA)
Summary: A girl with few real prospects joins a gang, reinventing herself and gaining a sense of self confidence in the process. However, she soon finds that this new life does not necessarily make her any happier.
Review: I thought this film was an excellent examination of what happens in a girl’s life when she grows up disadvantaged and still has to find herself. This coming of age story happens in a Pairs suburb, but I feel could have taken place anywhere. Marieme is just a girl who feels out of place in school and at home. She doesn’t know what she wants, but she knows it’s not anything she has. Like any good tale, her journey takes many paths, but it’s really one we haven’t seen on screen—from this perspective. The perspective of a teenage black woman.
Karidja Touré as Marieme does a really good job with the complex role that is constantly changing as her character Marieme changes. You grow to care about what happens to this young woman and her story by the end is truly one of independence. The film is also filled with strong characters especially Assa Sylla as “Lady”.
I have to mention the great cinematography of Crystel Fournier in this film. Fournier achieved her best work with dark skinned actors in dark rooms and at night. That is a hard feat to achieve and she does it beautifully.
This is what I wrote for the Maryland Film Festival
The writer/director of this film, Céline Sciamma, stated that her goal as a filmmaker is “to show faces and bodies that we never see on screen” and she has done just that with her wonderful third film Girlhood (Bande de filles). As writer Anupa Mistry stated “Finally, a film about black girls strengthening each other." As Mistry points out, the film has “probably the best four minutes of cinema I saw in 2014.” Without giving too much away, that scene is where you truly fall in love with the characters.
In the story, fed up with her abusive family situation, lack of school prospects and the “boys’ law” in the neighborhood, Marieme (Karidja Touré) starts a new life after meeting a group of three free-spirited girls. It is through her friendship with those girls that pretty much everything changes for Marieme, leading her on a turbulent path to find the love, freedom and independence she truly desires.
Girlhood (Bande de filles) premiered within the prestigious Directors' Fortnight section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, and went on to screen within the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival and Sundance 2015.
I saw this film through the 2015 Maryland Film Festival and it’s simply one of the best I’ve seen this year.
You can read more about the film on IMDb here