July 30, 2021

“Little mother” or the art of finding your mother

The opinion of the “World” – Not to be missed

Céline Sciamma’s gaze was needed for a film shot at the height of a child to transform into a fantastic, even metaphysical, work. In each of his films, birth of octopuses (2007), Tomboy (2011), Girls bands (2014) and Portrait of the girl on fire (2019), the director and screenwriter explores the margins of freedom of her characters, with regard to the state of society. Little mom, his fifth millimeter feature film (1 h 10), is inhabited by pure cinematographic magic, in the sense that the staging succeeds in making us believe, without special effects, that we are meeting not the “third type” but the second mother.

It is the improbable story of a little girl who met her mother when she was a child. Selected in competition at the Berlin Film Festival in February, which took place online, Little mom deploys its watchmaker’s mechanics, going back in time to “meet” two generations. So let’s hang on to the footsteps of Nelly (Joséphine Sanz), an 8-year-old girl with a slightly limping gait. His legs jerk off like two hands of a slightly out of control clockwork. But whatever, she trots, and it is she who gives the pulse of this metronomic work.

Same age, same curls

Nelly has just lost her maternal grandmother, who ended her days in a home for the elderly. The little one says ” goodbye “ to the old ladies she used to meet upstairs. Her mother, Marion (Nina Meurisse), is a bit stunned and absent. She must empty the house of the deceased, located on the edge of a wood, where she herself grew up and enjoyed making huts, according to family legend. Nelly discovers the place with her parents, absorbed in sorting and tidying up – the father is played by Stéphane Varupenne, of the Comédie-Française. Then, Marion leaves the premises without warning, leaving her daughter in a state of great perplexity.

This sudden departure causes the story to branch off, and mysterious characters arise. Indeed, Nelly leaves the house to play and does not take long to see a little girl who beckons to her. Her name is Marion (Gabrielle Sanz) and strangely resembles her: same age, same brown curls, same eyes of a poorly awakened kitten … In the autumn light, they make a cabin, as many children would do, and yet some something anachronistic sets in. Marion begins to take on the role of Nelly’s “little mother”.

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