Petite maman (2021)

Céline Sciamma’s mysterious and delicate exploration of childhood and grief.

Following her grandmother’s death, eight-year-old Nelly 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, Céline 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.

2021 France
Directed by
Céline Sciamma
Produced by
Bénédicte Couvreur
Written by
Céline Sciamma
Featuring
Sanz, Joséphine, Sanz, Gabrielle, Nina Meurisse
Running time
72 minutes

Ranked in The Greatest Films of All Time poll

Sight and Sound

Who voted for Petite maman

Critics

Dave Calhoun
UK
Felicity Chaplin
Australia
Hannah Hamad
UK
Sarah K Keller
USA
Dana Linssen
Netherlands
Kjetil Lismoen
Norway
Violet Lucca
USA
Ben Luxford
UK
Ian Mantgani
Ireland/UK
Jennifer Merin
UK/USA
Helen O'Hara
UK
Belén Vidal
UK
Mike Williams
UK

Directors

Bora Kim
Frances O'Connor
UK/Australia

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