The acclaimed French director cites Hayao Miyazaki as a key influence on what the trailer for the U.S. release calls “a fairytale of wonder and innocence.” It’s a timeless story about the joys of making a friend when you’re eight years old— except young Nelly’s new pal is actually her own mother as a kid, giving the otherwise naturalistic aesthetic a time travel twist.
A statement from Sciamma reads:
Imagining oneself in a relationship with one’s parent as a child is an idea that everyone can play with, dreaming of one’s own story, reinventing a relationship. As an intimacy machine, it has no limits. I really enjoyed working on this idea; it was extremely moving and amusing. The film is inhabited by this enthusiasm, I hope.
Twin sister newcomers Joséphine and Gabrielle Sanz star in Petite Maman, alongside Nina Meurisse and Stéphane Varupenne. Composer Para One returns after collaborating with Sciamma on Portrait Of A Lady On Fire and Girlhood.
Petite Maman adds to the number of notable child-centric films from recent years, including Minari, The Florida Project, Jojo Rabbit, and C’mon C’mon. However, it was envisioned as a true family viewing experience, rather than being a story about kids targeted towards adults. (Unless it turns out that children really want to watch Joaquin Phoenix record a radio show?)
Petite Maman begins its American run in a limited release on April 22 and will expand to more markets in time for Mother’s Day.
Sciamma also co-wrote Paris, 13th District (originally titled Les Olympiades), which is set to arrive in U.S. theaters on April 15. Directed by Jacques Audiard (The Sisters Brothers), the life-affirming romance adapts several of cartoonist Adrian Tomine’s short stories and stars Lucie Zhang, Makita Samba, Portrait Of A Lady On Fire’s Noémie Merlant, and Savages singer Jehnny Beth.