A good film. The story of a Senegalese young girl, an immigrant to France, who finds in dance a path from her culture of origin into the confusing freedoms the host culture allows.
As with most immigrants, the pressure to fit in is intense.
Add to it a stressful home environment where the young girl’s father has been absent and to complicate matters, has made plans to take a second wife – while keeping the first.
Dance is a vehicle for the young girl to express her burgeoning sexuality.
In school, she talks herself into joining a group of boy crazy classmates who’re forming a team to compete in a dance contest.
In the process she discovers her body and the power it has. And so do the other girls.
The film has come in for criticism from some quarters who view the dance routines and the girls’ sexual exploration as appealing to those afflicted with sexual perversions.
But there is a profound honesty to the film, and it is in that light that it should be judged.
The girls are exploring their emerging sexuality in the absence of any parental guidance and that context is always clear in the film.
They are taking their cues from the unfiltered offerings of the media. And they have, somehow, to sort things out as they make their choices.
The performances are excellent and the director/writer, who based the story on her personal experiences, shows excellent judgment in steering through the many difficult spots the girls’ journeys present. And the ending is most satisfying.
The film was shot in France where it was critically well received.
There is, indeed, overt sexuality in some of the scenes but it is not pornographic.
I have read that some of the harshest American critics of the film, who have called for Netflix to stop showing it, have not even seen the movie.
It doesn’t make sense. As adults and as parents, we have to own to the realities of the cultural environment we live in, and act responsibly to guide those in our trust through the maze of stimuli.
Young people, girls and boys, long to own their sexuality, and so be able to mature to make the appropriate choice of partner that is essential to a life well lived.
Parents would do well to watch this film and see for themselves what their children go through as their sexuality emerges.
Watch the film to see for yourselves. Do not let others dictate for you.
Netflix should not stop showing the film.
Oscar Valdes is the author of Psychiatrist for A Nation and other books. Available on Amazon.