‘Petite Maman’ Is a Very low-Key Masterpiece of Whispering Beauty

Gabrielle Sanz(l) and Joséphine Sanz Pyramide Distribution

Petite Maman, French filmmaker Céline Sciamma’s adhere to-up to Portrait of a Girl on Hearth, is delicate and peaceful, evoking emotion with subtle times that linger long after the credits have rolled. It’s a movie which is equal parts about the fragility of childhood and the pressure of familial ties, and its accomplishment depends on the subtle electrical power of Sciamma’s arresting boy or girl actors. 


PETIT MAMAN ★★★★ (4/4 stars)
Directed by: Céline Sciamma
Composed by: Céline Sciamma
Starring: Joséphine Sanz, Gabrielle Sanz, Stéphane Varupenne, Nina Meurisse, Margo Abascals
Running time: 72 minutes.


As the film opens, 8-calendar year-outdated Nelly, performed by Joséphine Sanz, has just shed her elderly grandmother, despite the fact that she does not really seem to be to understand what that indicates emotionally. She and her parents get there to the residence where her mother (Nina Meurisse) grew up, which is positioned on the edge of a forest. Her mom is grappling with the reduction of a parent and can’t feel to connect with Nelly, who rather wanders out into the woods to process her personal perception of grief. There, she encounters Marion (Gabrielle Sanz, who is Joséphine’s real-life sister), one more youthful female who appears to be like strikingly like Nelly. The pair come to be quick pals, relieved to locate a connection and playmate, and it slowly and gradually dawns on the viewer just who Marion is. 

To say far more may possibly venture into spoiler territory, while the film’s title consists of the obvious clue to how Nelly and Marion are connected. There is a fantastical ingredient to the story, but it’s so nuanced you may well not even detect it is happening. Rather, Sciamma permits the emotion to lead, evoking a feeling of bittersweet nostalgia as she explores the relationship amongst Nelly and Marion. Petite Maman is, as the title implies, a film about daughters and their moms and the fraught dynamic amongst them. But it’s also about how time styles us, reworking the optimism of youth into some thing additional jaded. We mature up with the ideal of intentions, but life generally shakes us off that path. 

There are deeply attractive scenes and strains in Petite Maman (just one line, in specific, has resonated in my head considering that observing the film for the 1st time final year). It’s the sort of film that idea-toes and whispers, instead than shouts, and the viewer’s age and connection with their possess mom and dad will effect how its this means is perceived. The plot is scant—Nelly and Marion enact a play and wander through the woods to construct a fort even though Nelly tries to make sense of her mother’s psychological distance—but the feeling it evokes is mind-boggling. 

Visually, Sciamma builds a earth that augments the conflicting thoughts of the story. Lionel Brison’s generation layout and Claire Mathon’s cinematography be certain that the aesthetic tone matches the narrative tone (Sciamma herself did the costume style). Nelly’s grandmother’s property, in specific, is vintage perfection, filled with touches that propose a long time gone by. Petite Maman invitations us to literally appear backward as the characters occur deal with-to-facial area with their pasts and it’s deeply successful. 

Petite Maman is a low-important masterpiece. It’s so minimal-essential, in reality, that it may well bypass a good deal of viewers fully, specially these who really don’t gravitate in a natural way toward overseas films. But you are carrying out yourself a disservice if you skip this one. The electrical power of film is that it enables us to see ourselves mirrored onscreen, and the themes and emotions Sciamma explores listed here are universal—and simple. It is a smaller movie that leaves behind massive ripples. 


Observer Evaluations are standard assessments of new and noteworthy cinema.

‘Petite Maman’ Is a Low-Key Masterpiece of Whispering Beauty

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