directed by Céline Sciamma, France 2021, 72' (English friendly)
One of the most talked-about films of this year's Berlinale. After a successful escape into costume cinema (Portrait of a Lady on Fire), Céline Sciamma returns to her roots. In Petite Maman, as in Tomboy, the French director explores the rich inner life of a child character. We meet eight-year-old Nelly when she learns of her grandmother's death. Not only does she experience her own grief, but also looks at the intense emotions felt by the whole family. Nelly's attitude combines a surprising maturity with a childlike belief in the power of imagination. It is thanks to the latter that at a certain point Nelly meets a girl of her own age who bears a striking resemblance to her mother. Sciamma observes this unusual encounter with curiosity and tenderness, which makes the film universal and adds a therapeutic dimension to it. For Petite Maman is nothing less than a fulfilled fantasy of becoming friends with one's own parent.