Following such singular inquiries into gender as Tomboy, Girlhood, and Portrait of a Lady on Fire (NYFF57), Céline Sciamma proves again that she’s among the most accomplished and unpredictable of all contemporary French filmmakers with the gentle yet richly emotional time-bender Petite Maman. Following the death of her grandmother, 8-year-old Nelly (Joséphine Sanz) accompanies her parents to her mother’s childhood home to begin the difficult process of sorting and removing its cherished objects. While exploring the nearby woods, Nelly encounters a neighbor her own age, with whom she finds she has a remarkable amount in common. Sciamma’s scrupulously constructed jewel uses the most delicate of touches to palpate profound ideas about grief, memory, and the past. A NEON release.
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