Girlhood meets Scarface in Houda Benyamina’s Cannes prize–winning debut feature, about two young women who become embroiled in the criminal world of the Parisian banlieues.
Teenager Dounia dreams of having it all: money, power, and a man. Unsatisfied with their socially prescribed career prospects, she and her friend Maimouna start dealing drugs as a way to make some quick cash. They are soon embroiled in a world of crime, which drives a wedge between Dounia and the object of her amorous interest: a sultry security guard who moonlights as a dancer. The beautiful and cunning Dounia is ordered by her dealer to seduce and scam a local kingpin, but the plan spirals out of control, and Dounia is left ghting to save not just her dreams but her best friend.
Shot with a ferocious intensity, Divines careens from scene to scene, capturing the vitality and wildness of its young stars. Benyamina doesn’t shy away from critiquing contemporary French racial and religious dynamics. Set in a predominantly black and Muslim housing block, it highlights the discrimination entrenched in French society and policing. This rough and raw coming-of-age story has as much fight in it as do the two unforgettable women at its centre.