End of the World Film Club #8: Girlhood

Join us for our next End of the World Film Club, in which we’ll watch and discuss director Céline Sciamma’s banlieu story, Girlhood, a coming-of-age tale that fizzes with life…

So, where are we now? We know it’s Friday, because it’s a week to go ‘til we discuss our next film club pick, Céline Sciamma’s Girlhood. If not for that, we’d likely be set adrift in time and space. But, before we wax philosophical, let’s get back to the business of film. Having read this piece on a first trip to the cinema post-lockdown, we’ve been emboldened to the point of considering it ourselves. We’ll probably report back on the experience when we do.

For the time being, though, the consensus is that we’ll also continue with our End of the World Film Club which, during lockdown, has given us a regular appointment with film, and you. Frankly, we don’t want that to come to an end just yet. If this is your first time reading about our film club, welcome, this is how it works: we pick a film (they’ll always be free and easily accessible), watch it at our leisure, and then have a conversation about it on Twitter using the hashtag #EndoftheWorldFilmClub.

“The films have been as varied as the quality has been high”

To choose the films, we run a Twitter poll (comprising three options), usually every other Wednesday. Those up for selection are necessarily dependent on what’s available on any given fortnight; happily the options – found on platforms like BBC iPlayer, All4, streaming services with a free trial period and those films that have fallen into the public domain – have been great so far. In fact, it’s fair to say the End of the World Film Club has watched some pretty remarkable cinema together, and discussion has been lively, fun and informative. It came as no surprise, but you lot know your stuff!

We kicked things off with Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s A Matter of Life and Death, while last time out we watched Fritz Lang’s M. If that pair suggests we’ve been restricted to watching the classics, in-between we’ve had contemporary social commentary in the form of Tehran Taboo, urgent documentary, The Black Power Mixtape 1967 – 1975, and international cinema from Park Chan-wook and Pedro Almodovar, whose films The Handmaiden and Julieta made for a fascinating, literary double-bill. The choices, then, have been as varied as the quality has been high.


This time, the poll was a bit of a mixed bag, genre-wise. We started out with the loose intention of theming the poll as an evolution of horror; we’d lined up turn-of-the-century ‘found footage’ indie, The Blair Witch Project and David Robert Mitchell’s modern classic, It Follows (both of which are available on BBC iPlayer). We were foiled, though, when we realised we didn’t have a third option. So, theme be damned, we opted for Girlhood, Céline Sciamma’s most recent film but one (preceding the stupendously well-reviewed Portrait of a Lady on Fire). Ultimately, Sciamma ran out a comfortable winner, picking up more than 56% of the vote.

The director has spoken of being inspired to make the film, an exploration of young female identity, when walking through the streets of Paris, where she kept seeing girls with great style, charisma, solidarity and energy – “a good starting point for a film.” At the same time, she has said, black girls in French cinema “are never looked at… so, I decided to go for it.” Writing in Sight & Sound, Sue Hill said that Girlhood depicts “beautiful, smart, funny young women… [whose] lives and spirit are painfully held in check by the unspoken rules of flawed authority figures.” It has variously been compared to Mathieu Kassovitz’s La Haine (1995) and Richard Linklater’s sprawling Boyhood – though one suspects the latter is more to do with similar titles and chronological proximity as anything else (with Girl- and Boyhood each being released in 2014). In any case, we’re yet to take in the cinema of Céline Sciamma and eagerly await discussing Girlhood with you.

What the critics said:

“Girlhood speaks the language of its characters with wit, fluency and insight… honest, empowering and electrifying. Bravo!”

Mark Kermode, the Observer

“It’s not that Sciamma sugar-coats the dangers that are out there. It is that she is more interested in how girls figure things out than in the many ways girls can go wrong.”

Sheila O’Malley, RogerEbert.com

Watch Girlhood on MUBI, and join us on Twitter to discuss, Friday 24 July, 7-8pm

The End of the World Film Club has watched:


The Handmaiden / Julieta

The Black Power Mixtape 1967 – 1975

Tehran Taboo

The Conversation

Assault on Precinct 13

A Matter of Life and Death

Our poll to select the next film club film will take place Wednesday 29 July

Posted on 17/07/2020 by thedoublenegative