I missed my chance to watch this in London, in the Netherlands, and now Netflix (Canada) helped me out. It’s so pleasing to find ‘smaller’ movies there.
Why did I want to see it so badly? Because it’s a movie about girls. Female friendships and relationships, but not in the clean, Hollywood way. And the majority of the characters are black, something that outside a Tyler Perry movie doesn’t happen in Hollywood. Are black female friendships different from those of other women, then? Very probably not, but their backgrounds are.
Marieme wants to go to high school, but isn’t allowed to. Instead it’s the banlieu for her, where she lives with three siblings and her mother, between fights and dealings.
She’s picked up by a group of girls, but while the viewer may expect them to be the gateway to worse, they may be the right thing for her instead.
But French films don’t mind showing reality, so things happen outside Marieme’s power. The viewer starts to lose her not long after having found her. All we can do is watch.
Stories like these have to be continued to be told until every Marieme (and her friends) are recognised as a human being, instead of a threat or a burden.
Girlhood, Canal+ 2014