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Girlhood (Bande de filles)

For her compelling third feature, French writer-director Celine Sciamma tackles another coming-of-age story, but this time her protagonist is considerably older and wrestling with issues of identity, sexuality and race in the neighbourhoods of Paris. Sullen teenager Marieme (Karidja Toure) lives at home with her parents, who are at loggerheads, and her younger sister. She yearns to escape and express herself, and that opportunity arises when a gang of three girls led by Lady (Assa Sylla) invite Marieme to join their ranks. Slipping a kitchen knife into her pocket, Marieme finds the freedom she craves as part of the gang. The girls clash with fierce rivals and slink through the local shopping centre, where they invite the attentions of cute boys without compromising their ability to behave exactly as they please.