This Isn’t a Girlhood You Would Wish on Anyone
Céline Sciamma’s Girlhood* has a similar pace to Portrait of a Lady on Fire** but with a completely different subject matter.*** And the girls in this were just great, especially Karidja Touré as Marieme/Vic. It’s the kind of film where it’s apparent from the first scene that things aren’t going to go well, but the journey is an interesting one.
The verdict: Good
Cost: free via Kanopy (also on Hoopla)
Where watched: at home
Consider also watching:
- Portrait of a Lady on Fire
- The Diary of a Teenage Girl
- The Edge of Seventeen
- Three of the above recommendations have to do with white teenagers’ experiences, the other is about a young woman pre-marriage.
- Read this article to find a great list of coming of age films about black girls. I’ve just added a bunch listed to my to-watch list.
*Interestingly, the translated name of both this and Portrait have been revised a bit to better draw English-speaking audiences. The title of this film, Bande de filles, Google translates as “bunch of girls.” I’m guessing the title was changed to Girlhood to draw the interest of people interested in Richard Linklater’s Boyhood. The original name of Portrait of a Lady on Fire is Portrait de la jeune fille en feu, Portait of a young girl on fire. The English translation is more evocative of Henry James’s novel The Portrait of a Lady which is a title people are familiar with, even if they haven’t read it.
***Contemporary French teenage girls who are either the children of immigrants or immigrants themselves.
- What did you think of the opening scene?
- What decision do you think Vic made after the final scene ended?
Favorite IMDB trivia item:
The most daunting task for the film was to obtain the rights to the Rihanna song “Diamonds.” She gave them the authorization once she had seen the sequence dedicated to the song.
(It’s a great sequence.)
- Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
- Sara Stewart, New York Post
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