DIVINES (2016)


Directed By: Houda Benyamina
Written By: Houda Benyamina, Romain Compingt & Malik Rumeau
Cinematography By: Julien Poupard
Editor: Louic Lallemend & Vincent Tricon 

Cast: Oulaya Amamra, Deborah Lukumuena, Kevin Mishel, Jisca Kalvanda, Yasin Houicha, Majdouline Idrissi 

 A street teenager from a dysfunctional family from a banlieue (HLMs) in Paris comes across a young dancer who turns her life upside down.

While Beautifully filmed, it feels familiar but keeps your interest no matter what as it offers more of not only a female point of view. Filled more with immigrants to France their hopes and the lire of success and fast money a way out of the slums. As you know the easy money will come at a price and will they be able or willing. To pay it when the time comes?

What it does offer is a coming of age story. As well as an outsider story that deals with foreigners in an adopted homeland. That seems to offer very little in the form of help or hope and when it does seems limited and contained.

You know the point of impact is coming where it won’t be all so innocent and easy. As the story goes along you try to brace yourself, but you get so caught up that even as you see the harsh life. Like the character you are easily seduced by what could be and hope. Even as the film tries to remind you of the harsh realities. Though still when it comes it still feels like a shock leaving you destroyed

This film feels more personal than some recent films that have been coming out on youth or coming of age stories. It doesn’t pretend this can be anyone but who it actually is. The characters are symbolic but also feel like they have a stamp of authority on them.

The film feels more like a docudrama at times as the film never feels like it reaches a false moment or point. Sure the story slowly starts to stretch itself and form in the familiar, but it feels more natural and needed to a degree.

It also works as a minor crime story with the glitz and glamour as well as rebelliousness. That can only be achieved with youth. As not old enough to be jaded and to the point. The film leaves the characters with some kind of hope.

Jisca Kalvanda as Rebecca the main drug kingpin is scary and mysterious as she command her brood. Who all seem scared of her, but also transfixed and who strangely has some random Older gentleman who stays with her and she takes care of.

The rest of the cast is noteworthy but none more than Oulaya Amamra in the lead she comes alive. As she can be quiet and cunning but also over the top and emotional and always makes it seem natural and right. She comes off as normal, but can also be capable of great beauty at the same time. As well as a knowledgeable innocence that allows even when she is naive to be believable. She is also the director’s little sister.

You know what is coming it are always hoping for either a way out or some different direction it can go to help and save the characters

Grade: B+

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