How do you impress a French girl

In the history of film, one target group in particular has given a lot of thought to the sexual awakening of young women: older men. The list of erotic coming-of-age adventures in which a girl discovers her body while a man sits in the director's chair and maintains control over how it should look in detail is nowhere as long as in French cinema. That is of course not forbidden, on the contrary, it is often great fun to see the artistic detours some men take on in order to be able to admire a bit of skin in peace. And one or the other classic came out of it, "Belle de jour", "The last tango in Paris", "A murderous summer", "Blue is a warm color" ... But the stories of growing girls were there mostly a, how should one put it, one-dimensional keyhole perspective.

French filmmaker Rebecca Zlotowski thought so too. The 39-year-old is one of the most important directors in French auteur cinema. Among other things, she shot the fantasy drama "The Secret of the Two Sisters" with Natalie Portman and the romance "Grand Central" with Léa Seydoux. And this year she presented her film "Une fille facile / A light girl" at the Cannes Festival in the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs series - her personal variation on the Coming of Age genre.

The title "A light girl" is to be taken literally in this story, although not in the way one might imagine at the beginning with the first pictures. From a bird's eye view you can see a young woman with very large breasts swimming in the sea, wearing nothing but a very tight bikini thong, in a postcard idyll of a bay. A peaceful picture, completely oblivious to herself, she splashes to herself. We soon learn that 22-year-old Sofia rarely has so much peace and quiet. Because as soon as she meets other people, she triggers a certain nervousness with her ultra-tight little dresses, thick pouting lips that always form a perfect O, and her blond hair, always lasciviously brushed behind her ear at the right moment - which she visibly enjoys.

The director wanted to anchor this porn-like sex bombing in the audience's minds in a particularly impressive way. That is why she cast Sofia with one of the most famous characters on the French boulevard in recent years: Zahia Dehar achieved a certain fame because she slept as an underage prostitute with the soccer star Franck Ribéry and other French national players in 2009.

They just got out of the matter with a black eye because the then 17-year-old testified that the men did not know their real age and she did not tell them either. A scandalous picture book career followed under the starving eyes of the European press, in which she publicly renounced prostitution in order to be able to devote herself, among other things, to the manufacture of lingerie. And she shot the documentary "Zahia from Z to A" about her young life so far.

The woman wants to expose Sofia as a stupid slut and engages her in a conversation about literature

Ten years after she became known, the person Zahia Dehar can only be met with prejudices through a Mount Everest high mountain. Which Rebecca Zlotowski uses for her film because she has found the perfect "easy girl" to play with the audience's expectations. Because she refutes that of course in the course of the film, at the end of which you have to be impressed: This Zahia Dehar is really in good hands in acting.

The director uses a little trick to solve the fact that one goes along with this on the way to this realization. Because the protagonist of the film, through whose perspective we get to know Sofia, is her 16-year-old cousin Naïma (Mina Farid). The student has a long summer ahead of her in Cannes, which sounds more glamorous than it is. Because Naïma and her mother, who works as a cleaner in one of the many luxury hotels on the Croisette, only come into contact with the champagne side of Cannes as employees. Until suddenly her older cousin from Paris shows up and stirs up her life. Together they plunge into the hustle and bustle of Cannes, stroll on the Boulevard de la Croisette, which Sofia confidently uses as a catwalk. In the harbor she winks at the enthusiastic men with their shirts unbuttoned a little too far on their yachts.

How easily Sofia gets involved with these men and their alpha males, with the unabashed display of their wealth, is initially rejected by Naïma. But the more she watches her play these games, the more she realizes how free her cousin is from all the behavioral imperatives that most people impose on themselves to avoid prejudice: Sofia doesn't care what people think of her. Because she knows that she can parry any attack at any time. But only if she feels like it. With which it is inspired by a freedom that probably only very few people have.

On a boat trip, a woman tries to expose Sofia as a stupid slut, believing she can get into an embarrassing situation by talking about literature. But Sofia adjusts her breasts in a relaxed manner in the deep neckline and gives an impromptu speech about Marguerite Duras, who has washed herself, with her O-mouth.

Une fille facile, France 2019 - Director: Rebecca Zlotowski. Book: Rebecca Zlotowski, Teddy Lussi-Modeste. Camera: Georges Lechaptois. With: Mina Farid, Zahia Dehar. Alamode, 92 minutes.