This week, our Céline Sciamma‘s Petite Maman podcast episode goes deep on one of our favourite films of 2021. It’s a deceptively small-scale film that’s quite profound in its exploration of mother-daughter love.
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This Petite Maman podcast episode features Editor-in-Chief Alex Heeney, Executive Editor Orla Smith, Associate Editor Brett Pardy, and Contributing Editor Lindsay Pugh.
At Seventh Row, we’ve been long time fans and scholars of Sciamma so this episode is steeped in our knowledge of her work. Our ebook Portraits of resistance: The cinema of Céline Sciamma is the first book to be written about the French director and the only non-academic book.
Where to watch Petite Maman
US and Canada: Now available on VOD
UK: Stream on Mubi
Since the Petite Maman podcast was released, the film has become available on VOD in Canada and the US.
Critics are raving about Portraits of resistance: The cinema of Céline Sciamma
The perfect companion to the Petite Maman podcast and every Sciamma film
“Erudite and casual, Portraits of Resistance will force readers into…running back to watch every Sciamma film to see what they missed.” – Alfred Soto, Film Critic
“An easily accessible guide to thinking on Sciamma’s [first] four feature-length films.” – Andrew Kendall, Starbroek News
“A cornerstone for future Sciamma scholarship.” – Shelagh Rowan-Legg, Screen Anarchy
Portraits of resistance covers Sciamma’s all four of her previous features: Water Lilies, Tomboy, Girlhood, and Portrait of a Lady on Fire.
Dive into interviews with Céline Sciamma, Portrait of a Lady on Fire actresses Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel, as well as Sciamma’s sound editor.
Explore essays on how Sciamma’s films let social outcasts take centre stage where she grants them temporary utopias in an often hostile, patriarchal world.
More about Petite Maman (Céline Sciamma, 2021) on the podcast this week
On the podcast this week, we discus Petite Maman, which follows Nelly who, after her grandmother dies, spends a weekend packing up her grandmother’s house with her mother. When she ventures out into the forest to play, she meets a young girl, Marion, who looks exactly like her, and as we soon discover, may be the younger version of her mother, also named Marion. Through her friendship with Marion, Nelly gets to understand the secrets of her mother’s childhood in a way that’s never possible as adult and child, parent and child in the present day.
While Petite Maman is about childhood, like Sciamma’s first three films (Water Lilies, Tomboy, Girlhood), on the podcast, we discuss how it has a lot more in common with her last feature, Portrait of a Lady on Fire. While that film was a romantic love story between two adult women, Petite Maman is a love story between mother and child. And both of these love stories have an expiration date; while Marion will not leave Nelly’s life completely, at a certain point, Nelly must say goodbye to the child version of Marion, who she shares a kind of closeness with that will never be possible with the adult Marion.
Read Alex’s full review of Petite Maman from Berlinale 2021
Read Alex’s interview with Sciamma’s regular editor Julien Lacheray, about working on Proxima (Alice Winocour, 2020)
On this Petite Maman podcast episode
- Why we love Céline Sciamma and Portraits of resistance (1:45)
- Related episodes (2:49)
- Petite Mamam summary (5:07)
- Lindsay’s history with Céline Sciamma’s films (6:37)
- Céline Sciamma’s precise attention to detail (9:02)
- Why we like this film – a non-saccharine view of childhood (11:03)
- Petite Maman‘s relationship to Sciamma’s prior films (19:59)
- Absences and goodbyes (26:26)
- Time in the film (31:00)
- The house’s space (35:38)
- The fantasy element (39:29)
- How Sciamma portrays and directs children (45:15)
- Temporary utopias (47:00)
- What would kids think of the film? (59:47)
- Empathy in the film (1:01:30)
- Conclusion (1:04:02)
Related episodes to the Petite Maman podcast
- Ep. 96: Water Lilies and Jennifer’s Body: Girlhood and compulsory heterosexuality (Members Only)
- Ep. 90: Jeanne Dielman and Les Rendez-vous d’Anna: A Chantal Akerman mother’s day (Members Only)
- Ep. 84: Berlinale 2021, Part 2: The Competition (Members Only)
- Ep. 30: Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire