BFI Recommends are feature and short recommendations for young aspiring screen creatives. Delivered by Fabrica on behalf of Young Film Network South East, supported with National Lottery funding.
Girlhood / 2014/ 1hr&52mins / Subtitled / Rated 15
This French coming-of-age drama film written and directed by Céline Sciamma focuses on the life of Marieme, a teenage girl who lives in a poor neighbourhood on the outskirts of Paris. Marieme starts a new life after meeting Lady, the leader of a clique in need of a fourth member. She changes her name, her dress code, and quits school to be accepted in the gang, hoping that this will be a way to freedom.
Girlhood stands as more than just a political statement about straitened opportunities or a moving female-centric relationship drama. Beautifully shot in Cinemascope, the film boasts tender and exhilarating scenes which introduce the movie’s themes so effectively and it is the wordless scenes that linger long after the film has ended.
"But while “Girlhood” is sad and wrenching, it doesn’t feel like a misery-mongering expression of high-minded (and therefore condescending) concern. This is because Karidja Touré, evolving from the shy Marieme into the assertive Vic, carries herself with the kind of dignity that disarms all pity, and also because Ms. Sciamma..is less interested in what Marieme might represent than in what she experiences. While the movie has a lot to say about the general condition of being a girl, in the Paris banlieues and elsewhere, it never loses sight of the specific girl at its heart." A. O. Scott, New York Times