'Petite Maman' Is An Emotional And Beautiful Tale From Writer/Director Céline Sciamma
By Sal LoCicero | February 22, 2022
From acclaimed French filmmaker Céline Sciamma (Portrait Of A Lady On Fire), comes a much smaller but powerful feature about a mother and daughter. After eight year old Nelly loses her grandmother, Nelly and her parents go to visit her grandmother’s house to clean the place out. During her last visit, Nelly meets a girl of her own age in the woods, who she becomes friends with.
Céline Sciamma may be one of the most underrated filmmakers working today. Her last film, ‘Portrait Of A Lady On Fire’, was excellent, however Hollywood was not very kind to Sciamma’s work. NEON, unfortunately, failed to give it a proper theatrical release. The film was finally made available to own on Blu-Ray and DVD from the Criterion Collection in 2020.
This is a beautiful 72 minute long feature. It dives into a bunch of themes about family, love, loss, regret, fear, and the memories that we hold onto. Each character has their own personal struggles from the past and present that they continue to struggle from, although most of the reasoning is vague. Since we follow Nelly's perspective throughout the whole movie, Sciamma shows how kids see the world and are curious to know about the problems that we face, but, at the same time, are confusing to us at that age.
The performances are fantastic, most importantly from Joséphine Sanz and Gabrielle Sanz. The two are such great actors who have a bright future ahead of them. Céline Sciamma is, yet again, able to make the viewer care so much about the people on screen.
It’s a fantasy inspired story that’s written and directed in such a realistic way, you can see through the film’s dull atmosphere - which also is a significant addition to the filmmaking. We are surrounded in an old house that is isolated near the woods, Nelly and her parents are all trying to heal over the loss of Nelly’s grandmother. While it never goes into detail about her parents’ personal problems, it shares just enough for the viewers to grow an emotional connection to them; similar to ‘Portrait’.
Petite Maman is a beautiful and emotional mother-daughter story that will pull at your heart strings. The movie has been teased by NEON to release this year, and hopefully those of you will take the time to go out and support both the movie and its filmmaker.