The Godmother — Hash and laughs in Paris

Isabelle Huppert peddling giant bags of hash in The Godmother
Isabelle Huppert peddling giant bags of hash in The Godmother

The Godmother (La Doronne)
Directed by Jean-Paul Salome
Starring Isabelle Huppert, Hippolyte Girardot, Farida Ouchani, Liliane Rovere, Jade-Nadja Nguyen
Showing nationally as part of the Alliance Française French Film Festival

It is hard to characterise The Godmother. It is in part a gripping drama and partly a stoner comedy laced with commentary on racism and police violence in contemporary France. There is also a strong streak of women’s emancipation.

Most importantly, the mixture holds together.

Isabelle Huppert stars as an Arabic-speaking interpreter employed by the police to interrogate Algerian drug dealers. She is accustomed to the cops' casual violence and cultural insensitivity, until she discovers that someone she knows is caught up in a hashish smuggling ring.

Slowly, she evolves into a drug-dealing queen, running a circle of inept young street dealers and keeping one step ahead of her police colleagues. Along the way she teams up with another female crime boss.

There is evidence aplenty in this film that in France it is generally accepted that the police are violently racist and hopeless thugs.

On a side note: Isabelle Huppert will turn 68 in a few weeks. Would a female actor of her age get a role like this In Hollywood?