Girlhood

Not rated yet!
Director
Céline Sciamma
Runtime
1 h 52 min
Release Date
27 June 2014
Genres
Drama
Overview
Oppressed by her family setting, dead-end school prospects and the boys law in the neighborhood, Marieme starts a new life after meeting a group of three free-spirited girls. 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.
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Armond White2
The National Review / OUT



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • What It Feels Like For a Diva
    Armond WhiteMovies Not Madonna’s “What It Feels Like For a Girl.” Not Beyoncé’s ” If I was a Boy.” Not even Stevie Nick’s “Sara.”  It’s Rihanna’s “Diamonds” that filmmaker Celine Sciamma uses for the centerpiece sequence of her movie Girlhood (Bande de Filles) to demonstrate the joy and desperation felt by young women going through sex role dilemmas. Mirieme (Karidja Toure) and her friends are caught between the social positions assigned to them as black French girls living in a banlieue outside Paris. The dizzying sexual feelings they’re just discovering in themselves match their heady, ghettoized social ambitions and—surprisingly—it’s all in Rihanna’s call-to-sisterhood anthem. Mirieme and her girls rent a hotel room where they drink, chat, smoke and dance—away from the parents and boys who want to impose rules upon them. In a blue-toned reverie, Sciamma shows the clique flossing and sashaying to Rihanna’s entreaty. Karaoke has never seemed so natural or been so ecstatic as when these girls exhibit their sense of freedom. Mirieme and Lady (Assa Sylla) with their long wig-like tresses, Bebe (Simina Soumare) and Monica (Dielika Coulibly) with their hair stylishly straightened, emulate Rihanna’s pop-star glamour but they could be stars in their own right. Each is model-beautiful, plus they have the insouciance of radiant youth. The “Diamonds” sequence recalls what many teenage boys and girls have fantasized in the privacy of their own bedrooms—or in danceclub abandon. As each girl gets to Rihanna’s repetition of the song’s chorus, “Shine bright like a diamond,” that chirpy note on the word “bright” breaks glass ceilings and melts your heart. I used to find the song annoying, now it moves me. Rihanna’s recording isn’t gloriously musical like Shirley Bassey’s “Diamonds Are Forever” but Sciamma makes it equally poignant by finding the desire and impudence that makes Rihanna—not pop’s greatest vocalist but steadily improving—a heroine, still, for disaffected yet aspiring youth. Her ode to materialistic wealth reveals what traps many Millennials but Sciamma understands another meaning: the natural beauty of human will. You can hear it when Rihanna comes down hard on the word “diamond” producing an aural rhyme to “bright.” That will is what turns these coal-black girls into diamonds in the sky. Sciamma, who also directed the lesbian teen drama Water Lillies (2007) and the androgynous teen story Tomboy (2011) begins Girlhood audaciously: A possible dream sequence of nighttime football game reveals the rough-and-tumble athletes to be girls. Tough girls — and quite different from Rihanna’s ultra femme look in the “Diamonds” music video (directed by Anthony Mandler, the Hugh Hefner of music video auteurs). This team of lovelies is set to challenge rules, show their strength and reach their goals. That’s why Mirieme changes her name to “Vic” and shifts between allegiance to her martinet brother Ismael (Idrissa Diabate), a sleekly beautiful boy named Djibril (Cyril Mendy)and a neighborhood gangster Abou (Djibril Gueye). Girlhood would be a conventional coming-of-age film like John Hughes’ Pretty in Pink  if it simply followed a predictable path to maturity. But Girlhood distinguishes itself, especially from Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, by refusing to offer Boyhood’s checklist of politically correct attitudes. Miriem’s impudence, her temptation toward the banlieu’s criminal underworld and that emotional ambiguity commonly called “fluid sexuality” are challenges to our expectations and confirm her humanity. Together with gifted cinematographer Crystel Fournier, Sciamma stages several dance sequences where Miriem and her friends release their energy and flaunt their sexiness. These tableaus are as aesthetically impressive as the films of Claire Denis and the finest appreciation of dark-skinned black women since the American film How She Move. That was a conventional hip-hop dance movie but these black French girls provide the same empathy and transference that pop music audiences, especially gay diva fans and drag artists, have always appreciated, going back to pop’s first girl-groups. Girlhood conveys Rihanna, Madonna, Beyoncé, Stevie Nicksm and Shirley Bassey’s insight into what it feels like for a girl. Girlhood opens in select cinemas Jan. 30. Watch the trailer below: ]]>
    ...
    (Review Source)
  • The Secret History of 2015's Best Gay Movies
    (”Girlhood” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Armond WhiteMovies Why should a Best Gay Movie List rubber-stamp mainstream Hollywood? How dare anyone compose such a list when Hollywood still depicts LGBT life strictly as political causes rather than emotional experience that connects to the world? 2015’s best gay films defy the clichés that commercial Hollywood is most comfortable marketing; clichés that distort or stereotype gay folk by keeping them in the repressive past or sentimentalizing them as pathological test cases. There’s a difference between high-profile marketing that exploits the desire for social acceptance and good, edifying filmmaking. (Why the French remain best at this deserves a separate article.) The best gay films confront stereotypes and resist them, bringing out “the secret history” (as one film put it) of gay life that no longer needs to remain secret.  1. The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet - Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet got to the heart of same-sex affection through the innocence of a boy inventor (Kyle Catlett) who leaves home and goes out into the world (a story the Stonewall movie botched). He discovers the strength of devotion through self-realization and a sense of family that’s as complicated as community. This year’s most moving fable, it also provides the boldest gay metaphor since Tennesee Williams: Spivet invents a Perpetual Motion Machine--what gays will recognize as love. 2. Salvation Army - Abdella Taia adapts his autobiographical novel into a powerful expose of triumphant gay self-reliance. This real-life, sexually explicit T.S. Spivet emerges from the Muslim third world into a new Europe.  3. Love at First Fight - Thomas Cailley uses the intricacies of LGBTQIA identity as the basis of a millennial rom-com. Out actress Adele Hanael and Kevin Azais make gender expectations complicated and surprising.  4. In the Name of My Daughter - Andre Techine, France’s greatest gay director, puts Adele Hanael, Catherine Deneuve and Guillaume Canet in a true-crime melodrama. His insight and sensibility reveals sexual tension at the core of social behavior. This is the movie Carol should have been. 5. The New Girlfriend - Francois Ozon explores transexual psychology and spirituality when Romain Duris’ deep femininity uncovers Anais Demoustier’s deep friendship. Their performances, plus Ozon’s elegant humor,  fill-in The Danish Girl’s laughable gaps. 6. Eastern Boys - Robin Campillo cruises the two-way street of sexual exploitation when Parisian Olivier Rabourdin picks up Russian immigrant hustler Kirill Emelyanov. Their personal and political needs mesh, resulting in the year’s most intimate sex scene.  7. Appropriate Behavior - Not only is Desiree Akhaven’s autobio-bisexual debut the American gay movie of the year, it’s a comic breakthrough. 8. Girlhood - Celine Sciamma finds beauty and liberation in the struggles of Afro-Parisian girls who discover their sexuality through Rihanna’s girl-power example. This Female Gaze on females is an aesthetic breakthrough. 9. Stanford Prison Experiment - Kyle Patrick Alvarez combines ‘70s clone erotica with a cautionary tale. He turns an infamous case of psychological research into an exploration of male sexual power dynamics, showcasing a dozen talented American actors. 10. Gerontophilia - Taboo-buster Bruce LaBruce makes his most daring and compassionate film, challenging the age-ism of gay culture with this wise, affectionate and ultimately universal romance. 11. Tangerine - Sean Baker’s lo-fi day in the life of two Los Angeles trans hustlers is raucously anti-Hollywood. Shot on cell phone technology it makes sub-cult secrets personal and relatable. Sisterhood and butt-dialing redefined. 12. The Duke of Burgundy - Sometimes justice and jollies come from unexpected places. Peter Strickland’s campy tribute to ‘70s hetero porn, muff-dives into serious and defendable lesbian intimacy. Chiara D’Anna and Sidse Babett Lnudsen’s fine acting and sensitivity provide the emotion Carol lacks.   ]]>
    ...
    (Review Source)

Tim Markatos1
The American Conservative



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • The Best Films of 2015
    (”Girlhood” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    What, in 2015, makes a movie one of the best of the year? Does it have to entertain? Enlighten? Does it have to have a flawless screenplay, flawless acting, flawless editing—whatever that adjective even means in such a subjective context? Does it need to have an agenda, or be free of one? Is it allowed to be politically incorrect? If it puts a straight white man to sleep, is it out of the running? If it offends a person of color, does that automatically make it trash? Coming up with an annual best of list is always a tricky business. On the one hand film is, at close of day, a matter of personal preference. I'm personally neutral to superheroes and star wars; many of my friends would never even think of watching anything else. Yet as an amateur film critic, I'm never content to settle for a purely subjective view of cinema. Surely, I think to myself, there must be some objective standard against which to judge everything, so that when I unveil this list every year I can spring to the defense of my picks with more than just my opinion as artillery. If there were such a Holy Grail of criticism, every critic under the sun would arrive at the same conclusions in their year-end curations. That not being the case—for the best, honestly—I have to settle for my intuition. The movies that floated to the top of my list this year all met a basic level of filmmaking competency; so did many others not enumerated here. What I found to be the special ingredient common to my ten "bests" (+one honorable mention) was a certain "why cinema?" factor. The theater will always be the destination for the franchise blockbusters and shows of special effects derring-do, but for any other genre a theatrical release is no longer a foregone conclusion. It isn't just that more and more movies go straight to On Demand: it's that there are ever-expanding ways to tell the stories that once may have only been tellable on the big screen. Why pay upwards of $15 plus parking and popcorn to lock yourself into a room at the edge of town for some 90 to 180 minutes when you could listen to a podcast, binge watch a TV series, read a book? Why go to the movies at all when we have personally-curated newsletters and Instagram feeds and Snapstories? I don't have answers to these questions. What I do have are 11 movies that convinced me of the unique contribution of cinema to storytelling, and I hope you approach them with an open mind to consider sharing them with me. (One last note before we begin: There's a 2009 movie on this list that I included here because it had a U.S. theatrical release for the first time in 2015. For posterity, I wouldn't consider it a 2015 film at all, but for the sake of a year-in-review, I'm opting to keep it here.)
    ...
    (Review Source)

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