When he made La Haine () Hate )) in 1995, Mathieu Kassovitz laid down the charter for French cinema’s treatment of suburban ghettos and revealed a young actor by the name of Vincent Cassel. Nearly twenty years on, Céline Sciamma has taken up the torch, but the perspective has completely changed. The dominant viewpoint is no longer that of a group of rough young male characters. It has been replaced by that of a gang of street–wise black girls, dressed to get themselves noticed with hairstyles to match. They tackle adversity with bravado, be it the macho laws of the housing estates, the quasi–slavery of underpaid jobs and the other chains associated with entering a life of drug–dealing, the struggle between asserting their femininity and the systematic perceived advantage of anything testosterone–related. The director, who first came into the public eye with Tomboy, is clearly capable of handling any subject without turning it into the habitual realistic downer with street cred. The main protagonist, Marienne ()Karidja Tour)), 16, is also a clever operator with numerous identities, all elusive. The original electro soundtrack by Para One, breaks away from the obligatory hip–hop soundtrack, allowing Girlhood to define and explore its own territory, somewhere between a social scan and a post–Eighties dream.
VH Released on 22nd October 2014.