Director: Houda Benyamina
Cast: Oulaya Amamra, Déborah Lukumuena, Kevin Mischel, Jisca Kalvanda
Runtime: 1h 45 mins
In a ghetto near Paris where drugs and religion reign supreme, Dounia is hungry for her share of power and success. Enlisting the help of her best friend, Maimouna, she decides to follow the footsteps of a respected dealer.
Divines is a great, underrated foreign film, but, also a sad coming of age which focuses on a young girl called Dounia. It’s a touching and powerful story with charismatic characters and outstanding performances.
After getting into a heated argument with her teacher, Dounia (Oulaya Amamra) a teenager living in the ghetto, decides to drop out of school. Dounia is determined to find a way to make money and achieve her dreams of being rich and powerful. She meets a successful drug dealer Rebecca (Jisca Kalvanda) who hires her and her best friend, Maimouna (Déborah Lukumuena). We see Dounia get into trouble as she embraces her new dangerous life of crime. We start to see her grow as she starts doing more dangerous and daring tasks for her boss Rebecca.
Divines is a coming of age story where we see Dounia grow, fall in love and make life-changing decisions. The director does a great job of capturing the harsh living conditions of the ghetto, so you can understand why Dounia is so desperate to make some money and make a better life for herself and family. I was very impressed with Divines it’s an excellent drama which touches on a few topics like poverty, crime and racism. While being a powerful drama, Divines also has some funny and light-hearted moments, which really added to the realism of the film.
I think Divines is a very good movie with a strong ending which left a lasting impression on me, it was surprising to me to find out this is Houda Benyamina directorial debut as she did such an amazing job of crafting this drama.
If you need a drama to watch then I highly recommend Divines as it is one of my top 5 films of 2016.
Similar movies: American Honey, A Prophet