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Ponette

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Ponette

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Following the death of her mother in a car accident, the this French film's young title character (Victoire Thivisol) finds herself wracked with feelings of grief and loss that she cannot understand. Seldom focusing elsewhere, Ponette follows her from hospital to relatives to boarding school, tracing the process by which she deals with the blow. Director Jacques Doillon's almost documentary-like film is strongest when almost fully immersed in the psyche of Thivisol's mournful character. Though her elaborate, incompatible religious fantasies of reunion—never depicted through any means other than dialogue—follow no recognizable logic, the film, due largely to four-year-old Thivisol's remarkable performance, makes them thoroughly, painfully believable, making its magic-realism finale seem like something like a cop-out. Still, like fellow French import Microcosmos, when Ponette keeps its camera low to the ground, it finds another world.