Petit Maman

Petite Maman

classified U S

Please note: This was screened in Nov 2021

Céline Sciamma
Joséphine Sanz, Gabrielle Sanz, Nina Meurisse
72 mins, Subtitled, 2021, France
Primary language

In this radiant tale, director Céline Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire) crafts 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 in a nearby forest – an encounter that reveals a strange and beguiling new world. You don’t want to know too much about Petite Maman 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.