If you’re like me, you love a good film. You may also happen to love Netflix.
Recently, I’ve indulged in a series of documentary sprees and Netflix originals. I must say though, I think we may have all have been sleeping on international films.
I just saw Divines, a great french film by Houda Benjamin set in Paris, France.
Oulaya Amamra plays the character of Dounia, a teenager who lives in poverty with her family in the most destitute of places in France, resembling something like the slums in the rural areas of Southern Africa.
Through their quest to find “riches,” Dounia and her best friend Maimouna begin working for a female drug dealer. What then follows is a poignant coming of age story laden with the themes of friendship, pain, religion, chaos, violence and even the possibility of falling in love.
I don’t want to insert any spoilers, as I recommend anyone reading this article to check out the film. But, I do want to comment that this film is particularly beautiful. Not only in its content, but also in the artistic element of its cinematic sequence. A stark contrast between American and European films has always particularly been the subject of my observation.
As someone who enjoys traveling and has immersed herself in European culture, I must admit that there is something particularly poignantly dark and erotic about a French film. In the case of Divines, these elements seeped through every context, providing not only a tear-jerking experience, but as well as a visually captivating montage.
Benjamin does not solely rely on the story line to speak this visually captivating montage. Literally, through the shape of her character’s bodies she heightens this experience by using their significant talents.
Kevin Mischel, who plays Djigui in the film displays his expertise in his craft through dance. The fluidity of his body throughout the film blesses us with a simplistic, yet complexed visually pleasing montage: It’s slightly erotic, plain, yet beautifully executed.
Through the dark shape of the story, we are at times provided with a breath of fresh air by watching his excellence effortlessly slide across the stage. To simply describe the narrative, it’s like witnessing the process of a painting in the midst of its creation.
One thing I also particularly love about the film is its refreshing racial solidarity. This is the case for almost many French independent films that I’ve watched. Unlikely, pairs are far from superficial, instead characters form amazing chemistry through their acting rather than their outside appearances. This is what makes it even more exciting and enjoyable to watch. Chances are, there’s always a person that looks like you. It’s relatable.
Overall, I give this amazing film a 10/10. If you’re a sucker for coming of age stories, romance, and short “gangster” films, this is a much watch.