Petite Maman

From the director of Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Celine Sciamma delivers what is as close to a near perfect film that you are likely to see in 2021. A radiant tale crafting a mysterious and delicate exploration of childhood and grief.

Following her grandmother’s death, eight-year-old Nelly (Joséphine Sanz) travels to the old woman’s home to help her parents pack everything up. After her mother unexpectedly leaves, Nelly befriends a little girl (played by Gabrielle Sanz, evidently Joséphine’s twin sister) in a nearby forest – an encounter that reveals a strange and beguiling new world. You don’t want to know too much about the film in advance to fully appreciate its quiet yet powerful magic.

Tightly packed into its brief running time and realised entirely at a child’s perspective, Sciamma draws inspiration from the fantastical world of Hayao Miyazaki to explore the theme of the Mother and the complexity of growing-up. Evocative autumnal cinematography (thanks to director of photography extraordinaire Claire Mathon), understated mise-en-scène and pitch-perfect performances from its young cast drive this deeply imaginative and tender film.

Programme Type: Film

Strand Type: Maverick Mondays

Director: Celine Sciamma

Cast: Joséphine Sanz, Gabrielle Sanz, Stéphane Varupenne

Certificate: U

Running Time: 73 minutes

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