Archive of films Divines / Divines

France / Qatar
2016, 106 min

Section: Another View
Year: 2016

In a grim Parisian ghetto where religion battles drug dealers for dominance, young Dounia is just trying to find a wee bit of happiness. She has big plans and she has no intention of giving them up.


Director and co-scriptwriter Houda Benyamina has forged her experiences from the Paris suburbs into a strong and meticulously constructed narrative with an epic climax. The main character Dounia, who lives in the Romany slums with her family, dreams of wealth and luxury. She worships Rebecca, the local queen of the underworld, who takes Dounia under her wing and starts to give her various tasks. In parallel to her criminal life, Dounia’s emotional world also undergoes change as she makes tentative moves towards the dancer Djigui. But can Dounia juggle this emerging relationship with her career as a gangster? While still a child, she’s on the cusp of adulthood, wild and curious, but also innocent and fragile. Director Benyamina gave her own sister the difficult task of portraying a heroine who wants to grow up too fast, a risky decision that paid off. The film portrays the experience of living in the ghetto and presents an intriguing gallery of strong female characters, but also touches on universal subjects, such as friendship, love and family.

Vít Kořínek

About the director

Houda Benyamina (b. 1981, Viry-Châtillon, France) had to fight her way into the director’s chair on her own. She graduated in acting from École Régionale d’Acteurs de Cannes, after which she attended workshops at the Academy in Minsk and New York’s Actors’ Studio. She gained experience in directing through the 1000 Visages (1000 Faces) organization, which she helped establish in 2006 as a means to democratize the filmmaking process by affiliating and supporting young talents from underprivileged backgrounds. In 2008, she completed her first short film Ma poubelle géante. Her next film, the medium-length Sur la route du paradis (2012), won the International Jury Award at the Festival of Francophone Films in Namur, followed by the Critics’ Award and the Muhr Arab Short Film Award in Dubai. Her feature film debut Divines won the Caméra d’Or at this year’s Cannes festival.


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About the film

Color, DCP

Section: Another View
Director: Houda Benyamina
Screenplay: Houda Benyamina, Romain Compingt, Malik Rumeau
Dir. of Photography: Julien Poupard
Editor: Loïc Lallemand, Vincent Tricon
Art Director: Marion Burger
Producer: Marc-Benoît Créancier
Production: Easy Tiger
Coproduction: France 2 Cinema
Cast: Oulaya Amamra, Déborah Lukumuena, Kévin Mischel, Majdouline Idrissi
Sales: Films Boutique


Oulaya Amamra


Déborah Lukumuena



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