Little Go Girls

Little Go Girls

Eliane de Latour  | 
France |
 2015 | 
80 minutes


“In Abidjan, the Go use their bodies like cash tills in order to gain a little freedom, even if it means living in dishonour. Very young, they flee domestic violence. Trapped on paths of violence and submission, they confront authority in the hope of one day being able to make their own decisions, and shape their own lives. This quest for freedom at any cost leads them into fraîchnies ghettos (ghettos of fresh, young girls), which is where I photographed them.”-ELIANE DE LATOUR

Recalling the work of Portuguese master Pedro Costa, in particular his Fontainhas trio (Ossos, In Vanda’s Room, and Colossal Youth), Little Go Girls has the same almost magisterial quality of image. The women and girls who ply their trade initially regard de Latour’s camera with benign indifference. But the relationship between the women and the filmmaker grows more trusting, when de Latour returns from Paris after a successful photography exhibit and shares the money with the women she photographed. “My portraits seemed to bring them a glimmer of dignity, allowing me to establish a link with them. Three years later I filmed them, without narration, without dialogue. They gave me the gift of their privacy, in a half-silence,” she explains.

The quotidian rituals of nursing children, sleeping, putting on makeup, washing, and singing are observed with grace and a certain kind of gentle gravity. Even the more vitriolic moments, fights over chores or money, are allowed to simply come and go, like storms on the sea. As the brief respite, offered by a casa — a home and community organized by the filmmaker comes to an end — the women drift away, back into the brutal anonymity of the city. -DW