Set on the estates of Paris (banlieu), Girlhood ****(15) is a terrific and groundbreaking film from young director Celine Sciamma.

It’s a film that dares to makes young black girls its stars, and the street casting pays off handsomely, with deliriously entertaining performances from the gang who adopt Marieme as their new member.

Sciamma’s film examines female friendship, peer pressure, social exclusion and indomitable spirit. She intrigues us with these faces, the language and the see-saw of young emotions on the screen.

The director’s naturalistic style favours character over coming-of-age story (in a classic French manner, the two become indistinguishable) but she captures many fine moments, including a stand-out scene in which the girls sing Rhianna’s Diamonds in a motel room and briefly believe they’re in heaven.