Summary: Marieme who later changes her name to Vic (Karidja Toure) is a girl with a very bleak future. She dreams of being able to escape the world which sees her single mother work a back breaking cleaning job and a world where her brother feels like he owns all the girls in the family choosing who they see and beating them if they dare to go against his wishes. Marieme’s dreams of escaping this world though a stamped out when her teacher tells her that her grades are not good enough for her to go on any further in High School.
Not sure what to do Marieme finds herself recruited by a girl gang made up of Lady (Assa Sylla), Adiatou (Lindsay Karamoh) and Fily (Marietou Toure). The gang soon provides Marieme with a sense of friendship and away to escape her boring mundane life but when it starts luring her into a world of drug dealers and violence it seems to be becoming a slope that might ruin her life.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 6th August 2015
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Celine Sciamma
Screenwriter: Celine Sciamma
Cast: Damien Chapelle (Cedric), Dielika Coulibaly (Monica), Idrissa Diabate (Ismael), Binta Diop (Asma), Halem El Sabagh (Farida), Djibrel Gueye (Abou), Lindsay Karamoh (Adiatou), Nassereba Keita (Sweety), Nina Melo (Caidy), Cyril Mendy (Djibril), Chance N’Guessan (Mini), Rabah Nait Oufella (Kader), Elyes Sabyani (Abdel), Simina Soumare (Bebe), Assa Sylla (Lady), Tia (Bambi), Karidja Toure (Marieme/Vic), Marietou Toure (Fily), Pierre-Marie Um’Guene (Client Monica)
Runtime: 113 mins
Girlhood is an ambitious film. Normally a film exploring something like gang culture will be written or directed by somebody that has been there and done that. That isn’t the case with Girlhood though. Instead this was put together by Celine Sciamma after she accessed the blogs of some of the girl gangs she saw hanging around various parts of Paris. To her credit Sciamma does well and like the film that put her on the world map, Tomboy, once again has created a coming-of-age story with a really gritty difference.
The power of Girlhood is that Sciamma sets up in such a way that you can really see why Marieme takes the journey into the gang world that she does. We see the sadness from her home life and without having to spell it out for the audience Sciamma shows that Marieme’s environment has really become her own prison cell. The only thing missing though is perhaps a better explanation of why Marieme’s brother seems to have so much power over the family.
To Sciamma’s credit she doesn’t glorify the whole gang culture but it also feels that she doesn’t explore the subject quite as deeply as she could have either. In a way if Girlhood was going to be a hard hitting warning about gang culture then it needed to pack the punch that films like Trainspotting or Kidulthood did when they set their sights on their vices. While Sciamma does create enough emotional scenes to make you realise that Marieme has made a bad mistake with her life it lacks that real punch (excuse the pun if you’ve seen the film) that it needed to make kids really re-think wanted to get involved with a culture that seems to have his coolness back. Cinematically the film also lets itself down a little with some scenes that are over-long, such as the girl’s singing in the hotel room, which does cause the audience’s attention span to drop in and out at times.
One of the things that does work for Girlhood is its amazing cast. Newcomer Karidja Toure explodes onto the screen in her portrayal of the conflicted Marieme. Toure takes the character on a real journey from a lost and confused schoolgirl to a street tough who can brawl with the best and then onto a hardened drug dealer who isn’t afraid to try and mix it with the boys. Such a character journey would be a stretch for a lot of young actresses but Toure handles the role with ease and delivers a performance that leaves you shaking your head when you realise that this is not only her first feature film but her first acting role. She is someone to seriously watch in the future.
Girlhood does have its flaws but this is a still a gritty film that takes a good look at the very seldom explored world of French girl gangs. The film lets itself down occasional with some over long scenes but for the most part is a well written character journey that allows its young star to shine.
Other Subculture Entertainment Girlhood reviews: You can listen to our Girlhood review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #142. You can also read our Girlhood review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.
This week on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Adam, Dave and Nick take a look at new release films ‘Good Kill,’ ‘Kill Me Three Times,’ ‘Southpaw,‘ ‘Girlhood,’ ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,’ ‘5 Flights Up,’ ‘Irrational Man,’ ‘Dope,’ ‘Hitman: Agent 47’ and ‘Vacation.’ This episode also contains interviews with Kriv Stenders, Rachel McAdams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Henry Cavill, Alicia Vikander, Armie Hammer, Morgan Freeman, Diane Keaton, Rupert Friend, Ed Helms, Chevy Chase, Christina Applegate, Richard Lowensten (Eco Homo), Lynne-Maree Milburn (Eco Homo) and Lawrence Johnston (Neon).
Also make sure you listen this week to see how you can win a fantastic Insurgent pack thanks to our friends at e-One Entertainment. The pack contains an Insurgent Blu-Ray, an Insurgent novel, an Insurgent T-Shirt, an Insurgent keyring and a limited edition fraction badge. Insurgent is out now on Blu-Ray and DVD through e-One Entertainment.
To listen to the show or can download it for free from our Podcast Channel – Listen/Download here.
The nation’s most sparkling film event, the Alliance Française French Film Festival, will return for its 26th annual season around Australia from early March until mid-April 2015.
Proudly presented by the Alliance Française in association with the Embassy of France in Australia and the generous support of Principal Sponsor Peugeot, a vanguard of Europe’s automobile industry, the Festival will screen throughout eight cities at a host of glamorous Palace cinema locations.
For its 26th season, Artistic Director Emmanuelle Denavit-Feller has selected a tantalising line-up of 49 features and documentaries showcasing the latest work of directors such as Anne Fontaine, Benoît Jacquot, François Ozon, Bertrand Bonello, Volker Schlöndorff, Mathieu Amalric, André Téchiné, Dany Boon, Christophe Gans and Mia Hansen-Løve.
Playing across nine distinctly named sections will be numerous highlights, including Beauty and the Beast, The Blue Room, Breathe, Chance Encounter, The Connection, Eden, The New Girlfriend, Girlhood, Saint Laurent, Samba and 3 Hearts. Also screening will be Jean Renoir’s 1937 masterpiece, Grand Illusion starring Pierre Fresnay, Jean Gabin and Erich von Stroheim that will feature in a section entitled Lest We Forget, commemorating World War I.
And igniting the screen with the talent that has placed them at the forefront of their profession, will be stars ranging from Bérénice Béjo, Catherine Deneuve, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Daniel Auteuil, Jean Dujardin, Emmanuelle Béart, Emmanuelle Devos, Fabrice Luchini and Isabelle Carré to Jean Reno, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Lambert Wilson, Léa Seydoux, Mathilde Seigner, Patrick Bruel, Romain Duris, Sandrine Kiberlain and Sophie Marceau.
With so much entertainment in store, next March just can’t arrive quickly enough!!!
National dates and venues for the 2015 Alliance Française French Film Festival are:
SYDNEY: 3-22 March Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona, Chauvel Cinema & Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace
MELBOURNE: 4-22 March Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Cinema Como, Palace Westgarth & Kino Cinemas
ADELAIDE: 5-24 March Palace Nova Eastend
CANBERRA: 6–25 March Palace Electric Cinema
BRISBANE: 13 March-1 April Palace Barracks & Palace Centro
PERTH: 19 March-7 April Cinema Paradiso, Luna on SX & Windsor Cinema
BYRON BAY: 9-14 April Palace Byron Bay
HOBART: 16-21 April State Cinema
Keep checking the Festival website for updates: www.affrenchfilmfestival.org