When Céline Sciamma’s Bande de filles premiered at the Festival de Cannes in 2014, it was simultaneously met with instant praise and heavy critique. Praised for its innovative all-black cast, but critiqued for its air of intellectual colonialism, Bande de filles quickly stirred controversy in the general media. In trying to denounce French filmmaker Céline Sciamma’s motives, major media outlets eventually reiterated racial and gender stereotypes concerning the banlieue and its younger female inhabitants. This article analyzes the visual and narrative devices used by Sciamma as she paints the portrait of a male-dominated banlieue in which her bande de filles (girl gang)’s mobility is reduced to codified itineraries. This article argues that Sciamma produces an anticolonial critique of the Parisian banlieue in revealing the various networks of control and surveillance to which her protagonists are subjected, along with the various performances (gender, mobility, capital) assumed by her characters in order to evade that surveillance.


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pp. 113-126
Launched on MUSE
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