Girlhood tells the coming-of-age tale of Marieme (Karidja Touré, below-right), a 16-year-old girl in a rough Parisian neighbourhood still trying to find where she belongs in the pecking order of life. In looking after her younger sister, in dealing with her abusive brother, and also her seemingly forever-absent mother, she falls in with a bad crowd, namely Lady (Assa Sylla), Adiatou (Lindsay Karamoh) and Fily (Marietou Toure) who think nothing of starting fights with rival moronic gangs, which in turn leads to Marieme bullying fellow pupils for money that they then all spend on hotel rooms for the night to drink, listen to Rhianna and get a break away from reality for a short while.
On the plus side, all this brings Marieme out of her shell, but not into a brilliant place, so it’s not necessarily the answer. That said, the path we carve out in life isn’t always the one we’d have preferred to have taken.
I don’t want to say too much about Girlhood as I’d just be describing the events that take place, and it’s like a road movie where you discover things as the characters do, but while it’s not as essential as some of the reviews I’d read made it sound, it is certainly a journey worth following, and not one you’ll be disappointed with having spent two hours in her company. Girlhood also brings us a great new find in the stunning Karidja Touré.
The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 theatrical anamorphic widescreen ratio and looks as good as a DVD can do. Compared to a Blu-ray, the picture looks a little soft, but other than that, there are no issues. For the record, I’m watching on a Panasonic 50″ Plasma TV via a Samsung BD-P1500 player.
The audio is in Dolby Digital 5.1, but this is a drama, not a special FX-fest. The only time the speakers get a dusting off comes during the occasional music but there’s nothing going on split-surround-wise.
The extras are brief, but are as follows:
- Interviews: One apiece with Karidja Touré (aka Marieme) (5:33) and director Céline Sciamma (5:40), both of whom speak in English for these pieces, and both interviews being simple Q&As which the questions as static captions, so they’re basically generic pieces filmed for TV shows to slot in as soundbites when making a feature about the movie but it still works as an extra.
- Trailer (1:40): In the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio.
Subtitles are in English and kick in automatically without being turnoffable (if that’s an issue for you), and there are just 12 chapters to the disc.
Running time: 113 mins
Released: September 7th 2015
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Arri Alexa anamorphic)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Céline Sciamma
Producer: Bénédicte Couvreur
Screenplay: Céline Sciamma
Music: Jean-Baptiste de Laubier
Marieme: Karidja Touré
Lady: Assa Sylla
Adiatou: Lindsay Karamoh
Fily: Marietou Toure
Ismaël: Idrissa Diabaté
Bébé: Simina Soumaré
Monica: Dielika Coulibaly
Djibril: Cyril Mendy
Abou: Djibril Gueye
Asma: Binta Diop
Mini: Chance N’Guessan
Kader: Rabah Nait Oufella
Cédric: Damien Chapelle
Caidy: Nina Melo
Abdel: Elyes Sabyani
Farida: Halem El Sabagh
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.