Space, Gender, and Identity in Sciamma's Girlhood and Arnold's Fish Tank

in Girlhood Studies
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In this article, I explore the use of space in Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank and Céline Sciamma’s Bande de Filles, two films that depict the experiences of 15-year-old girls in a British housing estate and a Parisian banlieue respectively. The spatial motifs related to identity that circulate throughout the films establish a regime of flux, ambiguity, and reversibility that contributes to a depiction of female adolescence as unfixed and unsettled. I argue that both films, in their focus on the lived experience of their protagonists, investigate the landscape of economically and socially peripheral spaces to develop a specifically female approach to contemporary coming-of-age narratives that takes into account the difference that gender makes.