A row of black girls dancing outside on a sunny day in the outskirts of Paris20 March – Girlhood


Céline Sciamma, France 2014, 113 minutes

Director: Céline Sciamma
Producer: Bénédicte Couvreur
Screenplay: Céline Sciamma
Cinematography: Crystel Fournier
Editor: Julien Lacheray
Music: Para One
Karidja Touré (Marieme/Vic)
Assa Sylla (Lady)
Lindsay Karamoh (Adiatou)
Mariétou Touré (Fily)
Idrissa Diabaté (Ismaël)
Simina Soumaré (Bébé)

Rating: M offensive language, Runtime: 113 minutes

In the last few years, French director Céline Sciamma has become a leading figure in contemporary cinema. Through her acclaimed films Portrait of a Lady on Fire (which won the Queer Palm and Best Screenplay Awards at Cannes in 2019) and Petite Maman she’s shown herself to have a knack for telling complex stories about gender and/or sexuality, often focusing on women and girls, that resonate with audiences.

Her third film, Girlhood, is no different. A coming-of-age story, it follows Marieme (Karidja Touré), a young black teenager growing up in the outskirts of Paris. Her mother is always working and her brother is abusive towards her. She is drawn to a gang of girls, led by Lady (Assa Sylla), who dress in a uniform of straight hair and gold chains, and whose lifestyle involves some minor crime. They stand up for themselves and get what they want, something Marieme desires for herself. While the characters have some rough experiences, the film also revels in the joy and camaraderie that they have together, notably in a beautiful scene in a hotel room where they all sing and dance to Diamonds by Rihanna.

Sciamma was drawn to make a film about black teenagers, as she considered them to be barely ever represented in French media. Through taking this highly specific focus on the lives of black teenage girls in Paris, Sciamma yet again proves that the more specific and deep a piece of art is, the more universally relatable it will be. 

“Girlhood is a fascinatingly layered, textured film that manages to be both a lament for sweetness lost and a celebration of wisdom and identity gained, often at the very same moment.”
Jessica Kiang, The Playlist.




Mar 20 2023


6:15 pm - 8:10 pm