[CRITICAL 2] DIVINE

Find our positive review of the film

The golden camera of the Cannes film 2016 promised the clitoris, a beautiful energy, and the birth of young talent. This portrait of the daughter of the cities in search of success and money, we will remember in particular a movie foutraque, longuet, and that doesn’t avoid the clichés. Divine of Houda benyamina l disappoints where one would have liked to be embarked in an adventure that seemed pretty.

It reminds us all of the speech excited the filmmaker in Cannes receiving the Camera d’or. She had touched us, amused, annoyed, also a little to no longer want to be silent but in the end, it had provided an overflowing joy, which ended on youyous and heralding a film in his own image. Disappointment, because if the film in fact reveals a beautiful energy, it also leaves an impression of déjà vu quite annoying.

Dounia (Oulaya Amamra), lives in a camp rom with his mother a waitress in a bar, shabby and alcoholic. She is SEN to the stewardess and explodes when his teacher asks him or her to keep right, and follow the rules. Of course she sees deeper than that Dounia ! She wants to earn money, and not have a life of shabby with its 1,300 € per month to teach young people who are sick and tired of bowing down. The alternative ? Rebecca (Iscah Kalvanda), the dealeuse respected of the city, which types of fine blond well-muscled and palpates the stone. With her best friend Maimouna (Deborah Lukumuena), Dounia embarks on its conquest of the “money money money“. Leave a conformism for another, those of the codes of the city, where one must prove that her strength and boldness, showing that one has “clit“ and to be without fear nor reproach. Yet the question as to what the dreams of the young, the answer seems to be desperately the same. Drive a Ferrari and soak in a bath of ticket cash.

There have been films about the suburbs. Of Kechiche to Cantet passing by Rabat Aimeur-Zaimeche , or Matthieu Kassovitz, each strives in his own way to tell the dreams that hide behind a newspaper without hope. Then of course it is not easy to show something other than what one has already seen, namely the dealers of the suburbs, the police violence, the altercation between the young people and the teachers, the cellars, dark and big cars, but we expected something else. Yet the director denies having made a film of suburbs : “The decor mattered to me, I wanted to make a tragedy of shakespearean”.

This may be the rub, this desire claimed to remain free in speaking of all, to mix genres, to talk about impossible love, religion and drugs, marry romance and a certain form of naturalism. Houda benyamina l has things to say and to tell, but like her character, she seems to have trouble to choose from and we ended up dropping too fast and getting tired.

“This may be where the problem lies, this desire claimed to remain free, speaking about everything, from mixing genres (…)”

Dounia observed Djiggi (Kevin Mischel), a sensual dancer and flayed, vigil in a large surface area-to-day. A love story impossible (and improbable), is born between them. They look and are acting up, do not dare to love, and where she would find may be his salvation (as he has found grace in the dance), she will prefer to save the friend. In life everything is question of choice. Rebecca explains that in order to earn money it is necessary to “dare to be rich“, both to will and to accept it as evidence. Metaphor for the happiness that seems to be our own good will ?

Houda benyamina l said, “wanting to understand his characters, to find their truth, enabling them to embody beyond any manichaeism, and reverse codes“. But although it is in a woman movie(s), the codes remain indeed the same, and if we can guess the emotion that the director tries to deploy to the thread of his narrative, the confusion of genres and one-upmanship lyric of some of the dance scenes, emphasize roughly what we would have liked to feel naturally. The tragedy is born, perhaps, of this emptiness in which Dounia (and the film) slowly sinking.

Then this movie does it the “clit“ ? Certainly to believe Houda benyamina l , which tells that it is much more difficult to be a woman in the middle of the film that in a city. She has a warrior side that we can only praise, to like its actresses, all cool… Unfortunately this is not enough.

Anne Laure Farges

See the positive review of the DIVINE and the interview of the team of the film

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