Céline Sciamma, France, 2011


Laure is a ten year old girl who identifies as a boy more than a girl. She manages to pass herself off as a boy to a small group of children in the new area where her parents have moved to. Her new pal, Lisa, also presumes she is a boy.  In this scene we see her being accepted by a group of boys playing football, with whom she starts to play. We see her getting more and more in to the group, we see her watching and the copying the boys’ gestures, such as lifting their t-shirts when they’re too hot, and spitting on the ground.  She becomes a solid player, able to dribble and shoot at goal.

Laure experiences an embarrassing moment when the boys go to the toilet at the edge of the grass. She can’t go to the toilet in the open in the same way that they boys do, for fear of being unmasked as a girl. She goes off into the woods nearby and crouches in the undergrowth to relieve herself. A boy stumbles upon her squatting and she quickly gets up. The boy mocks her in front of the others, saying ‘Michael’s pissed himself!’, but we’re not sure if he’s seen or even understood that Michael is, in fact, a girl. The aim of her game is to be seen as a boy, a real and credible boy, by the others, which she has successfully done. This scene, though, shows her that there’s a permanent danger of being unmasked when playing at being a boy, even when she’s so gifted at pretending to be one.