The enchanting story of Nedjma, Besties is set in the Parisian banlieue, tackling class, immigration and homophobia in an alternative Romeo & Juliet-style picture
BY ELEANOR NOYCE, IMAGE BY BFI FLARE
DIVA: Describe your film in three words.
First love & reputation.
DIVA: Could you tell me a little about your background as a filmmaker? What inspired you to get into film?
As a kid, I didn’t have TV at home but I used to live near a very good movie theatre. Movies from all around the world like Yiyi by Edward Yang were a big aesthetic shock for me.
DIVA: Could you tell me a little bit about your film?
Besties is the portrait of Nedjma, a young girl that discovers first love and who has to choose between her friends and her new girlfriend.
DIVA: What inspired you to make this film?
As a student, I used to work part time as a volunteer in an association helping kids with their homework in a very poor neighbourhood in Paris. There, I met teenagers whose parents came from Maghreb or West Africa. I spent six years working with them and learning about their world. They inspired the characters in the film.
DIVA: What does a screening at BFI Flare mean to you?
I’m honoured and also very curious to see how an English audience will react to this story.
DIVA: Who is your favourite LGBTQI on-screen figure, be it a director, an actor or a character?
The swedish film Fucking Amal by Lukas Moodysson.
DIVA: If you could have audiences take one message from your film, what would it be and why?
Hope… even if it’s difficult.
DIVA: Finally: what do you think the future of film looks like?
I hope that audiences will keep going to the movie theatre…it’s the best way to watch a film!
DIVA magazine celebrates 28 years in print in 2022. If you like what we do, then get behind LGBTQI media and keep us going for another generation. Your support is invaluable.