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Cannes 2014 African Diaspora Highlights - Directors’ Fortnight Selection 'Girlhood' ('Bande de Filles')

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by Tambay A. Obenson
May 14, 2014 10:06 AM
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Bande Des Filles (Girls Band)

The 67th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, the world's most prestigious, kicks off today, May 14, and will run for the next 10 days, through May 24. Overall African Diaspora participation at this year's event is as low as it typically is, so no surprises there. 

S&A won't have a presence at the festival this year, but I hope to gain access to the films of interest to this blog (given its stated mission) so that we can at least review them for you. 

I'll highlight each of those films over the next day or three, starting with this one.

French filmmaker Céline Sciamma's coming-of-age drama Bande de filles (which translates as Girls Band but, as you can see from the poster above, it's English language title will be Girlhood) follows Marieme, a high schooler who feels oppressed by her family environment, dead-end future prospects, and the rowdy boys in her neighborhood, whose life gets a much-desired lift when she meets a group of 3 free-spirited girls. She changes her name, her dress code, and quits school to be accepted by her new friends, hoping that becoming a part of their clique will provide her with the escape she's long wanted.

The film is set to make its world premiere as a 2014 Directors’ Fortnight selection at the Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off today. 

The Directors' Fortnight (aka la Quinzaine des Réalisateurs) was created by the French Directors Guild in 1968, to aid filmmakers and help them be discovered by critics and audiences alike. Since its inception, the Directors' Fortnight has showcased the first films of Werner Herzog, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Nagisa Oshima, George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, Ken Loach, Jim Jarmusch, Michael Haneke, Chantal Akerman, Spike Lee, Luc et Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Sofia Coppola, Francis Ford Coppola... among others. So Sciamma and her feature film are certainly in very good company, and this bodes well for what's to come.

Among the various sections at the Cannes Film Festival, the Directors' Fortnight is distinguished by its independent-mindedness, and its non-competitive nature, striving to be eclectic and receptive to all forms of cinematic expression.

Girlhood stars Karidja Toure, Assa Sylla, Lindsay Karamoh, and Marietou Toure.

Sciamma directed the film from her own script.

Check out a teaser for the film below, which doesn't give you much (it is called a teaser), but the footage here has my attention:

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