Divines (2016, written and directed by Houda Benyamina)
[No. 47 of 52 in #52FilmsByWomen]
For a while, I didn’t realise that this film actually takes place in Paris. I presume it’s because this stereotypical movie convention hardcoded into our consciousness that there is a mandatory shot of the Eiffel Tower for anything taking place in the French capital.
In Divines, the characters live in low-income housing projects far outside the city center. The star of the film is the amazing Oulaya Amamra who plays Dounia, a rebellious teenage girl who drops school and tries to work for a drug dealer. In some ways, the story is almost similar to Fish Tank, being about a young girl trying to find a way out of a shitty life (and an irresponsible mother).
Also amazing is Déborah Lukumuena who plays Dounia’s best friend Maimouna sticking with her through thick and thin. They have great chemistry is quickly apparent in the opening credits which consists of a montage of Vine or Snapchat-like clips of them having a good time.