In her feature debut, writer-director Marion Desseigne-Ravel’s coming-of-age story viscerally captures the emotional turmoil of first love, with all its thrill and exhilaration, coupled with the deep vulnerability of teenage self-discovery.
Confident teen Nedjma is comfortable in her routine—watching over her younger sister, spending afternoons at the community center, and navigating her neighborhood with ease, ready and willing to fight anyone that messes with her and her squad. When Zina, the cousin of a rival squad member, moves into her building, Nedjma’s routine is abruptly interrupted. She is drawn to her immediately, despite knowing that their social standing dictates that they must be enemies. Tensions rise as she is caught between her fierce loyalty to her friends and the increasingly unavoidable pull of her longing for Zina. Lead actor Lina El Arabi proves to be an incredible rising talent, embodying Nedjma with depth and nuance, her insecurities and fear bubbling just beneath the surface of her tough-girl exterior.
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