Festival de Cannes 70: Houda Benyamina’s Divines, 2016

A sunny shout-out to 70 winners at the Cannes Film Festival to celebrate the 70th event which is just around the corner – in no particular order.

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A significant shout-out to a new, breakthrough film-maker will vie for the Caméra d’Or (or the Golden Camera) at the Cannes Film Festival, and last year that honor went to Divines, directed by Houda Benyamina. Part of the Directors’ Fortnight group, Divines tells the gritty, refreshing, engaging story of Parisian slumdogs, or two teenagers in particular living in poverty, turning to running errands and eventual drug liaisons for the local dealer. Headed by an outstanding lead performance by Oulaya Amamra (the director’s little sister) as Dounia, Divines is bold in its depiction of youngsters in their journey through education, street-life, family feuds, potential romance, and that longing and ambition to escape the shackles and explore adulthood with a free mind. Benyamina executes a deft social tone, themes we’ve experienced before, but given a fresh flavor and real compelling vigour. The stark contrasts between the rough-around-the-edges lifestyle and deep emotional seed is portrayed with unflinching brilliance, again shone brightly through Amamra’s commanding turn – this scene in particular packs a real punch.

 

 

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