16-year-old Marieme (Karidja Touré), who is physically abused by her older brother, joins a group of three girls and finds sisterhood among them. After Water Lilies (2007) and Tomboy (2011), director Céline Sciamma continues to explore young girls growing up in search of identity, this time focusing on the daughter of a hotel janitor who is quick to adapt and assert herself. Marieme’s journey goes through difficult stages, involving confusion, confrontations and experimentation, all of it made fully realistic by the director, who also uses a couple of songs very well in arresting sequences, including a great opening, that celebrate the girls’ independence. A cast of amateurs shines.
2014-France. 112 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Bénédicte Couvreur. Written and directed by Céline Sciamma. Cast: Karidja Touré (Marieme), Assa Sylla (Lady), Lindsay Karamoh (Adiatou), Mariétou Touré, Idrissa Diabaté, Simina Soumaré.
Trivia: Original title: Bande de filles.
Last word: “I was fascinated by their energy, their group dynamics, their attitude, style and way of dressing… I wanted to find out more about them. They’re not gangs in the US sense of the word, just big groups of friends. They face a particular set of challenges but at the same their stories are consistent with the themes I’ve explored in my other work, such as the construction of feminine identity and friendships between girls… the film is basically a coming-of-age tale.” (Sciamma on the real-life girls who inspired the film, Screen Daily)