5 June 2015

Girlhood

Last week I went to see another film at "The Showroom". It was "Girlhood" directed by Céline Sciamma. The dialogue was all in French so there were subtitles. Actually the French title for the film is "Bande de Filles" which can be best translated as "Gang of Girls" - not "Girlhood" - a title which perhaps deliberately echoes "Boyhood" (2014) directed by  Richard Linklater.

"Girlhood" is set in the suburbs of Paris, in a tough community which is largely of black African origin. In fact, white France is noteworthy because of its absence. The central character is Marieme (Vic) played by  Karidja Touré. She finds friendship with a gang of girls who allow her to forget her troubles and show her how to have fun. They dance. They laugh. They run away. But they also fight. They are tough cookies.

It is a film about the brightness of youth - its aspiration and its energy. Under their tough exteriors, the girls are quite vulnerable and just want to be loved, to be happy. The ending might seem unsatisfactory for there is no neat resolution but to me this was just right. Marieme has had a little cry but she realises that she must not give in to self-pity. She has to accept her lot and simply carry on.

I found it a charming and engaging film. There's laughter and friendship and the sparkling, frenetic vibrancy of youth. I am pleased that I bothered to go. It is not the France I remember from childhood visits there but this entire world is in so many ways very different from how it used to be.

12 comments:

  1. I suspect I wouldn't fall asleep watching this gang.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, you'd be chomping popcorn like a maniac.

      Delete
    2. Is that what you call it?

      Delete
  2. I've not heard of this one previously. I'll keep an eye out for it...maybe two! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Not sure about wanting to watch an entire movie with subtitles. I get easily distracted and I guess my rather rusty grasp of French won't be enough to understand the original dialogue.
    What do you mean about "accepting her lot"? It sounds a bit fatalist to me but of course I do not really know the context.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes - fatalist. Dreams of a better life are all very well and good but when you are born in the ghetto the odds of climbing out of it are almost impossible.

      Delete
  4. "...this entire world is in so many ways very different from how it used to be." Of course that is true on so many levels. It's also the case, though is it not, that what we see now is so very different from the relatively small and sheltered world we saw as children. The reading of many of the novels from our childhood era would show a world we never saw but which we see today because of the advances in communication. Imagine if all wars had been shown on TV the way the Iraq War was. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your reflections are wise Graham. The more things change, the more they stay the same. We live with many dichotomies. I wonder how our medieval forebears would have responded if they had seen live coverage of The Crusades.

      Delete
    2. Yes we conveniently forget how we forced our beliefs on the world with as little subtlety in most cases as IS. Where was the equivalent of the USA when we were enslaving the natives of so many countries? Oh yes, we were the US of those days.

      Delete
    3. What is meant by "we"? In those days the ruling classes were enslaving people internally - coal miners, weavers, farm workers, railwaymen, navvies. Do those people and their descendants belong to "we"?

      Delete

Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.