Petite Maman

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Petite Maman
Official poster
Directed byCéline Sciamma
Written byCéline Sciamma
Produced byBénédicte Couvreur
  • Joséphine Sanz
  • Gabrielle Sanz
  • Stéphane Varupenne
  • Nina Meurisse
  • Margo Abascal
CinematographyClaire Mathon
Edited byJulien Lacheray
Distributed byPyramide Distribution
Release dates
  • 3 March 2021 (2021-03-03) (Berlinale)
  • 2 June 2021 (2021-06-02) (France)
Running time
72 minutes[1]
Box office$2 million[2]

Petite Maman is a 2021 French fantasy drama film, written and directed by Céline Sciamma. Starring Joséphine Sanz, Gabrielle Sanz, Stéphane Varupenne, Nina Meurisse and Margo Abascal, the film follows a young girl coping with the death of her maternal grandmother by bonding with her mother.

The film had its world premiere at the 71st Berlin International Film Festival on 3 March 2021, and was released in France on 2 June 2021, by Pyramide Distribution. The film received widespread critical acclaim.


Eight year old Nelly has just lost her maternal grandmother. Her parents retreat to her mother's childhood home in order to empty it out. Nelly's mother is deeply upset by the whole process and leaves during the night without saying goodbye to Nelly.

Going out into the woods to play, Nelly meets a girl her own age building a fort. The girl, Marion, is extremely friendly and invites Nelly to help her. When it begins to rain, Marion takes Nelly to her home. After Nelly explains that she is visiting the area after the death of her grandmother, Marion tells her that her own grandmother, also named Nelly, died recently. Going through the house, Nelly realizes that it is her grandmother's house and Marion is her mother. Alarmed, she flees and is relieved when she returns to the house and finds her father in the present.

Nelly returns a second time to the woods and sees her mother again. They continue to build the fort. Nelly learns that they are the same age and that in three days, Marion is set to have an operation to prevent her from developing the same illness as her mother. Returning repeatedly, Nelly is able to spend time with her grandmother and learn things about her mother such as she harbours ambitions of being an actress.

The day before departure, Nelly reveals to Marion that she is her daughter and comes from the future. To prove it, she brings Marion to her grandmother's house where she reveals to Marion that her mother dies when Marion is 31 and that Nelly loved her deeply. The two are interrupted by Nelly's father, who tells Nelly that he has finished early and wants to return in time for her mother's birthday. Marion asks Nelly to sleep over and Nelly convinces her father to let her stay an extra night so she can spend more time with Marion.

Nelly and Marion celebrate Marion's ninth birthday during the sleepover. The following morning, Marion prepares to go to the hospital. Nelly reassures her the operation will be fine. Nelly also reveals that her mother is a sad person and she often wonders if it is because of her. Marion reassures her that she does not think this is the case. The two hug before Marion leaves for the hospital and Nelly returns home for a final time.

Returning to her grandmother's house, Nelly is surprised by her mother who has returned for a final viewing of the house. The two embrace, as they say each other's names.


  • Joséphine Sanz as Nelly
  • Gabrielle Sanz as Marion
  • Stéphane Varupenne as Father
  • Nina Meurisse as Mother
  • Margo Abascal as Grandmother


In November 2020, it was announced Céline Sciamma would write and direct, with Bénédicte Couvreur serving as a producer, with Pyramide Distribution set to distribute.[3][4]

Principal photography began in November 2020.[5]


Petite Maman had its world premiere at the 71st Berlin International Film Festival in March 2021, where Neon bought North American distribution rights to the film the same day.[6][7] A week later, MUBI acquired the distribution rights for the UK, Ireland and Turkey.[8] It was released in France on 2 June 2021, by Pyramide Distribution.[9]

The film screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2021.[10] It also screened at the 2021 San Sebastián International Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award.[11]

In February 2023, The Criterion Collection announced the film would be joining the collection in May that year.[12]

Critical reception[edit]

Petite Maman received critical acclaim. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 97% of 203 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 8.70/10. The website's consensus reads, "Small in narrative scope but deeply impactful, Petite Maman is a delicate, powerfully acted meditation on grief."[13] On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 93 out of 100, based on 37 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[14] English film critic Mark Kermode called it his favourite film of 2021,[15] writing "Whether you are six or 60, this astonishingly insightful and heartbreakingly hopeful cinematic poem will pierce your heart, broaden your mind and gladden your soul, even as you wipe away tears."[16]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Berlin Film Festival March 5, 2021 Golden Bear Céline Sciamma Nominated [6]
San Diego International Film Festival March 24, 2021 Best International Film Petite Maman Won [citation needed]
Jakarta Film Week November 21, 2021 Golden Feature Award Won [17]
British Independent Film Awards December 5, 2021 Best International Independent Film Céline Sciamma and Bénédicte Couvreur Nominated [18]
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards December 15, 2021 Best Foreign Language Film Petite Maman Nominated [19]
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards December 18, 2021 Best Foreign Language Film Won [20]
National Society of Film Critics January 8, 2022 Best Film Runner-up [21]
Best Director Céline Sciamma Runner-up
Toronto Film Critics Association January 16, 2022 Best Foreign Language Film Petite Maman Runner-up [22]
London Film Critics Circle Awards February 6, 2022 Foreign Language Film of the Year Nominated [23]
Director of the Year Céline Sciamma Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards March 6, 2022 Best International Film Petite Maman Nominated [24]
BAFTA Film Awards March 13, 2022 Best Film Not in the English Language Céline Sciamma and Bénédicte Couvreur Nominated [25]
Gaudí Awards January 22, 2023 Best European Film Petite Maman Nominated [26]


  1. ^ "Petite Maman". Berlin International Film Festival. Retrieved 17 February 2021.
  2. ^ "Petite Maman". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 8 June 2022.
  3. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (9 November 2020). "Celine Sciamma Shooting New Movie 'Petite Maman' in France". Variety. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  4. ^ Barfield, Charles (11 November 2020). "Celine Sciamma Has Begun Production On Her Next Feature, 'Petite Maman'". The Playlist. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  5. ^ Lemercier, Fabien (12 November 2020). "Appealing new titles for mk2 Films at the online AFM". CineEuropa. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  6. ^ a b Grater, Tom (11 February 2021). "Berlinale Unveils Competition Line-Up: New Pics From Daniel Bruhl, Celine Sciamma, Radu Jude, Xavier Beauvois & Hong Sang-soo". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  7. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (3 March 2021). "Neon Reteams With 'Portrait Of A Lady On Fire' Filmmaker Celine Sciamma For 'Petite Maman' – EFM". Deadline. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  8. ^ Dalton, Ben (9 March 2021). "Mubi picks up Céline Sciamma's 'Petite Maman' for UK-Ireland and Turkey". Screen International. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  9. ^ "Petite Maman". Pyramide Distribition. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  10. ^ Rubin, Rebecca (20 July 2021). "Toronto Film Festival Lineup Adds 'Dear Evan Hansen,' 'The Eyes of Tammy Faye' and 'Clifford the Big Red Dog'". Variety. Retrieved 20 July 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ "Women win big at San Sebastian Film Festival". Reuters. 26 September 2021. Retrieved 27 July 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ 'Thelma & Louise,' 'Petite Maman,' and More Coming to Criterion in May
  13. ^ "Petite Maman". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 10 May 2022. Edit this at Wikidata
  14. ^ "Petite Maman". Metacritic. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  15. ^ "Mark Kermode's best films of 2021". the Guardian. 26 December 2021. Retrieved 21 April 2022.
  16. ^ Kermode, Mark (21 November 2021). "Petite Maman review – Céline Sciamma's heartbreakingly hopeful fairytale for all ages". the Guardian. Retrieved 21 April 2022.
  17. ^ Rochman, Fathur (21 November 2021). "JFW 2021 bukti Jakarta dukung bangkitnya ekosistem film Indonesia". Antaranews (in Indonesian). Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  18. ^ Ramachandran, Naman (3 November 2021). "'Belfast,' 'Boiling Point' Lead BIFA Nominations". Variety. Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  19. ^ Tallerico, Brian (13 December 2021). "West Side Story Leads the 2021 Chicago Critics Nominees". RogerEbert. Retrieved 13 December 2021.
  20. ^ Shanfield, Ethan; Murphy, J. Kim (18 December 2021). "'Drive My Car' and 'The Power of the Dog' Win Top Prizes at L.A. Film Critics Association Awards 2021 (Full List)". Variety. Retrieved 19 December 2021.
  21. ^ Pond, Steve (8 January 2022). "'Drive My Car' Wins Best Picture Award From National Society of Film Critics". The Wrap. Retrieved 8 January 2022.
  22. ^ Neglia, Matt (16 January 2022). "The 2021 Toronto Film Critics Association (TFCA) Winners". Next Big Picture. Retrieved 16 January 2022.
  23. ^ Yossman, K.J. (16 December 2021). "Female Filmmakers Shine at London Critics' Circle Film Awards With Nominations for Jane Campion, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Joanna Hogg". Variety. Retrieved 16 December 2021.
  24. ^ Long, Brent; Tangcay, Jazz (14 December 2021). "Indie Spirit Awards 2022 Nominations (Updating Live)". Variety. Retrieved 14 December 2021.
  25. ^ Grater, Tom (3 February 2022). "BAFTA Film Awards: 'Dune' & 'The Power Of The Dog' Lead Nominations". Deadline.
  26. ^ "'Alcarràs' y 'Un año, una noche', favoritas en los Premios Gaudí: lista de nominaciones". Cinemanía. 14 December 2022 – via

External links[edit]