Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. France/Qatar, 2016. Easy Tiger, France 2 Cinema, France Televisions, Centre National De La Cinematographie, Fonds Images de la Diversité, Cofinova 11, Region Ile-de-France, La Fondation Gan pour le Cinéma, Agence Nationale pour la Cohésion Sociale et l’Egalité des Chances, Commission Images de la Diversité, Doha Film Institute, Procirep, Angoa-Agicoa, Netflix. Screenplay by Houda Benyamina, Romain Compingt, Malik Rumeau, dialogue and adaptation by Romain Compingt, Houda Benyamina. Cinematography by Julien Poupard. Produced by Marc-Benoit Creancier. Music by Demusmaker. Production Design by Marion Burger. Costume Design by Alice Cambournac. Film Editing by Loic Lallemand, Vincent Tricon. Golden Globe Awards 2016. Toronto International Film Festival 2016.
Dounia sees school as a waste of time, her challenges in the rough suburbs of Paris including an alcoholic mother at home and teachers at school that prepare girls like her (mostly from Africa or African parents) for dull jobs as receptionists. Dounia’s hot temper and intense frustration inspire her to quit school and go to work for the neighbourhood drug kingpin, becoming a seller and earning the boss’s trust to take on bigger and more dangerous assignments. At the same time, she spies a handsome young dancer in the theatre where she hides her personal money stash and begins a flirtation that could be her chance to pursue something more legitimate than the life she is falling into. Director Houda Benyamina’s coming of age tale spells its morality out pretty clearly, telling a tale of easy money leading to hard circumstances, but tells it with such great energy and relies so wisely on the charisma of its performers that it is compelling even when it is at its most didactic.