"I'm not saying, 'I'm going to tell you what it's like being black in France today.” I just want to give a face to the French youth I'm looking at” - Céline Sciamma
Girlhood follows 16-year-old Marieme, oppressed by her family setting, dead-end school prospects and the "boys law" in her neighborhood. After meeting a group of three free-spirited girls, Marieme changes her name, her dress code, and quits school, to be accepted into their clique. But when when she finds that her new lifestyle doesn’t offer the independence or happiness that she truly desires, Marieme decides to take matters in her own hands.
Girlhood is a coming of age film that sharply addresses race, gender, and class. Director Celine Sciamma intentionally cast black actresses because of her concern over the lack of opportunities for black women in France. The casting process for Girlhood, where actresses were scouted from the streets of Paris, took four months to complete. Inspired by the gangs of teenage girls that she would regularly see in Parisian shopping malls and train stations, Sciamma sought to capture the stories of black youth characters that she felt are undeveloped in French cinema.