Review: Girlhood (2014)

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French writer and director Céline Sciamma has seen her talent evolve with each new feature and her third, the marvellous and superbly anchored Girlhood, is no different. Enslaved by her troubled home life and lack of prospects, sixteen year old Marieme (Karidja Touré) absorbs herself into a girl gang. As she finds her place within the clique, her outlook, attitudes and  dress sense change; a show-stopping scene set to Rihanna’s Diamonds emphasises her rebirth. The narrative, split into four sections separated by long, electro-tinged fades to black, hits a few stumbling blocks as it advances, but it’s propped up by Sciamma’s eye for detail and ability to make important themes – adolescence, female friendship and inequality – relatable. The performances are rich and beautifully characterised, each of the other three girls as identifiable as Marieme. Girlhood is a rarity in that it’s  a film about four young black women, and a mesmerising and essential one at that.

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