Director Celine Sciamma delivers a gentle pontification of loss, family and understanding in this gentle, and quiet drama. When Nelly’s (Josephine Sanz) grandmother dies, she regrets the fact that she didn’t get a chance to truly say goodbye to her.
While her mother (Nina Meurisse) deals with her grief, and the job of clearing out her mother’s home, something that becomes too much for her, Nelly takes to playing in the local woods, visiting places her mother played when she was young.
It is amongst the trees that Nelly encounters a girl her own age, Marion (Gabrielle Sanz), and Nelly quickly comes to realise this young girl, who lives in a familar house with her mother (Margot Abascal), may actually be her mother as a child.
The pair connect, play, and grow a friendship that helps both of them deal with their worries for their individual futures, and may give Nelly the closure she doesn’t even know she needs.
Taking its time, with its magical narrative, the audience is allowed to sit with Nelly, seeing the world through her eyes, both the hurt and the wonder of childhood. It’s a quiet, understatedand beautiful film that ruminates on the resilience of the young, the bonds of family, and how important it is to make each moment count, and not fear the future.
Petit Maman screens digitally a second time on Tuesday 14 September, at TIFF2021!