Girlhood, a French drama about poor black teens on the outskirts of Paris, opens with an electrifying sequence set to throbbing dance rock by composer Jean-Baptiste de Laubier. Football players burst onto a gridiron for a night game, their play rendered in slow motion, and in their helmets and shoulder pads they look like pretty tough dudes. A last-minute touchdown prompts wild celebration, but as the players yank off their helmets, the dudes turn out to be women, who separate into their respective teams and file past each other to exchange high fives. When they’re done they melt into a single crowd, winners and losers alike, jumping and cheering in sheer exhilaration at their shared power. Director Céline Sciamma backs up for a long shot as the lights on the field are shut down, cutting short the girls’ victory rave and plunging them into darkness. One gets the feeling that otherwise they’d be there all night. Continue reading >>