Sunday, March 01, 2015

"Girlhood", French drama about minority youth, is not an equivalent to the "Boyhood" film

Girlhood” (French title “Bande des filles”), directed by Celine Sciamma, has only an accidental parallel in name to “Boyhood” (July 19, 2014), but that coincidence was enough to compel me to see it, today at the Angelika Mosaic in Merrifield VA, before a small Saturday afternoon audience. 
The film does give an idea of what leads youth in Europe (France specifically) to become disenchanted, without actually ever mentioning Islam.  All of the main characters are black (which may suggest ancestry from north Africa, which France had colonized), and live in high-rise developments, probably subsidized, in reasonable shape physically, but somewhat boring in appearance, compared to the Paris that tourists see (as I did myself in 1999 and 2001).
Marieme (aka Vic), played by Karidja Toure, seeks to free herself from the “boys” rule of her neighborhood by joining a “gang” with three other young women.  The men, of course, resent any behavior that challenges their “right” to have women when they “want them.”  Marieme migrants towards flexible bisexuality, lesbianism that is more out of just affection than passion. (Funny, “Chess Quotes” just tweeted, “The Truth about Girls”.) 
The film shows some impressive shots of modern Paris commercial and defense centers, especially “The 4 Temps” (link).  The music score tends to break into song-like episodes, as with a formal musical, and there are some stage songs, such as “Diamonds in the Sky” (which really exist in the atmosphere of Neptune!)  
The official site (Strand Releasing) is here
Wikipedia attribution link for “La Defense” business district in Paris, by Dimitri Destuges, under Creative Commons 3.0 Share Alike License.  I drove past it in a rental car in 1999.

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