"Black is beautiful" with Girlhood and Samba
by Fabien Lemercier
- Pyramide is releasing Céline Sciamma’s feature in 164 cinemas, while Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano’s film has topped the box-office charts
Having been backed up by very positive reviews and now enjoying a great deal of media coverage that has been extended to a social analysis of the day-to-day life of young women in the suburbs, Céline Sciamma’s Girlhood [+see also:
interview: Céline Sciamma
interview: Céline Sciamma
film profile] (read the review) hits screens today, distributed by Pyramide in 164 theatres. The feature, which opened the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight in May and is among the three nominees for the European Parliament’s LUX Prize 2014, also illustrates just how visible black actors and actresses currently are in French cinema. Thrusting the young newcomer Karidja Toure under the spotlight, it resonates with Samba [+see also:
film profile]’s impressive kick-off, with that film immediately taking the number-one spot at the box office. The movie by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano (670,000 admissions over five days – distributed by Gaumont) is carried by the charismatic Omar Sy in the lead role.
The present and future of France’s youth, a subject at the heart of Girlhood, is also the focus of the highly original social and musical documentary Chante ton bac d'abord by David André, which follows a group of friends in the tough economic surroundings of the northern French city of Boulogne-sur-Mer (distributed by Bodega Films across 27 screens).
Among the other new releases this Wednesday is another oddity within the “traditional” French production landscape: Le grimoire d'Arkandias [+see also:
film profile] by Alexandre Castagnetti and Julien Simonet. Magic, an invisibility ring, witches: targeting young audiences and hoping to turn the school holidays to its advantage, this feature film produced by Les Films du 24 and distributed by UGC is attempting to create a Harry Potter-esque world through the misadventures of three friends played by Ryan Brodie, Timothée Coetsier and Pauline Brisy.
Also hitting screens are the comedy On a marché sur Bangkok [+see also:
film profile] by Olivier Baroux (with Kad Merad and Alice Taglioni in the leads – distributed by Pathé) and Bruno Ballouard’s endearing feature debut, Lili Rose (starring Salomé Stévenin, Mehdi Dehbi and Bruno Clairefond - Zelig Films Distribution).
Lastly of note is Heart of a Lion [+see also:
film profile] by Finnish director Dome Karukoski (selected last year at Toronto and the winner of a Special Mention in the Alice nella Città sidebar at Rome - Jupiter Films in 13 theatres) and, among the documentaries, the Franco-Swiss production Of Men and War [+see also:
film profile] by Laurent Bécu-Renard (revealed at a Cannes Official Selection Special Screening – distributed by Why Not Productions), La belle époque by Albert Tudieshe (Les Films du Saint-André des Arts) and Patria obscura by Stéphane Ragot (distributed by DHR).
(Translated from French)