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Petite Maman

French Film Festival 2021

See any two films in our French Film Festival season for £10 – simply log in, book your seats and the discount will be applied at checkout!

Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire garnered international acclaim for its sumptuous rendering of queer female desire and the overwhelming power of looking and being seen. With Petite Maman, Sciamma’s brings her trademark observational insights into this sensitive tale of childhood grief and wonder.

After her grandmother dies, Nelly (Joséphine Sanz) is taken to her mother’s childhood home. While her parents go about cleaning out the house, Nelly explores the surrounding woods. She encounters Marion (Gabrielle Sanz), a girl exactly Nelly’s age who looks strikingly similar. The pair become fast friends, constructing a hut together, sharing lunches, and sharing secrets. Incrementally, the girls’ eerie familiarity reveals a bond between the two girls that forms a connection between the past and the present.

Working once again with cinematographer Claire Mathon and production designer Lionel Brison, Sciamma gently ushers us into a series of quiet, magical spaces where the mysterious meets the everyday and time seems amost to stand deliciously still. Drawing lovely, subtle performances from her young stars, Sciamma allows us to see the world through Nelly and Marion’s eyes. The result is a film of tremendous tenderness and calm contemplation that, like all of Sciamma’s films, celebrates the special joy of female relationships. 


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