Petite Maman

Director Céline Sciamma / 2021 / France

Céline Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire, MIFF 2019) returns with a delicate tale of childhood and an intergenerational connection that crosses through time.

As she adjusts to the passing of her grandmother and helps her grieving mother and gently preoccupied father clean out the late matriarch’s rustic home, eight-year-old Nelly is left to emotionally fend for herself. Venturing out into the surrounding forest, she finds a child her own age constructing a tree house – and soon strikes up an intimate friendship with this mysterious yet somehow very familiar girl.

Following Portrait of a Lady on Fire’s 2019 Cannes Best Screenplay and MIFF Audience Award wins, Petite Maman reasserts Sciamma’s signature light touch with stories of youth and ability to elicit naturalistic performances from a non-adult cast, as seen previously in Tomboy (MIFF 2011) and Girlhood (MIFF 2019). Using its beguiling premise to explore the complexity of mother–daughter relationships, this highlight of the 2021 Berlinale competition is a sensitive portrayal of the yearnings and anxieties of pre-adolescence with a touch of magic realism.

“A film that beckons like a forest path … Petite Maman is a tiny suspended moment within time, magnified at high resolution until the microscopic becomes momentous.” – Sight & Sound

Back To Index