Ella Taylor. Karidja Toure in Girlhood. Strand Releasing hide caption. Early on in Celine Sciamma's striking Girlhood , a deft twist confounds what you might expect from a teen movie set in a mostly black, poverty-stricken suburb of Paris.
A Parisian Finds Her Place In A Rarely Seen Part Of 'Girlhood'
Girls are not a monolith, they are not all the same, they are not "the other," although you'd never know it considering some of the films out there. It takes an intuitive and devoted filmmaker like Sciamma to go beneath the surface of "girlhood", to remove the normal trappings, and to look at all of the different forces and influences in play. She lives in a big housing project, and is the main caretaker of her younger sister. Her grades are poor and she is being pushed to transfer to a technical school and learn a trade. Her mother Binta Diop works so many jobs she is never around, and Marieme has to answer to her brother Cyril Mendy , who is downright abusive. Marieme is a sweet and shy girl, her hair falling down her back in braids.
Towards the end of the first season of the wonderfully funny and heartfelt Pen15 , we see a teen girl get her period for the first time. She cries tears of frustration and disgust when she sees the splash of red on her underwear. She doesn't tell anyone — not her best friend, who she just had a major fight with, or her mom, who earlier in the episode had responded to a temper tantrum by her to grow up. The landscape of young teen life that Pen15 traverses isn't precisely uncharted territory; after all, the world of first periods and early friendships and first sexual experiences has been a mainstay in American pop culture since the time of Judy Blume. And yet, something extraordinary has been happening over the last several years as the teen coming-of-age story has quietly become the most emotionally rich and nuanced subject matter explored onscreen.
I kind of always wanted to write a book about my life. I wanted to explain the things that happened in between the IMDb entries. Where did she go? But for a long time I was writing other things. I was writing plays, screenplays.