This French film is full of power, emotion and hope. I would absolutely encourage you to put this film at the top of your must-watch list. Released in 2016, Houda Benjamina’s stunning feature received critical acclaim winning the Golden Camera at Cannes, and being nominated for and winning several international film awards.
The film follows Dounia, a teenage girl on the brink of adulthood, who along with her best friend becomes involved in drug dealing in an effort to build a better life. The fully charged film is consistently energetic and entertaining. Dounia’s relationship with Maoumina, her bestfriend, sets the tone for comedic and mischievous scenes. Benjamina proves to be a master at portraying this complex setting balancing light and dark scenes effortlessly.
Although the film creates space for ecstatic and artful climatic moments, it ultimately forces you to think and isn’t afraid to delve into the darker themes.
Set in the Parisian ghetto, the film poses profound questions about the realities of transcending race and class differences and succeeding within contemporary French society. The film is both heart-breaking and inspiring. It speaks boldly, asking the viewer to reflect on themselves and on the story. This powerful picture skilfully navigates delicate moments as Dounia considers success, love and religion. In the end, we are reminded of the heavy reality of consequence and rigid processes.
Divines is a provocative and lively exploration of what it means to dream.