Back at the start of 2019 (before the literal personification of hell that is 2020), if you told me that my favourite film of the year would come from a director I had never heard of and be centered around two lesbians in a forbidden romance, I would have politely said: “Jog on, Endgame comes out this year.”
But director Céline Sciamma did just that with Portrait of a Lady on Fire, a film that has stuck with me ever since I saw it, both visually and emotionally. And with the French director starting production on her next film Petite Maman, my excitement is certainly a lot more forthcoming.
Not too much is known about the fifth film from Céline Sciamma, other than it will deal with the theme of childhood and will star two eight-year-old kids as reported by Les Inrocks magazine. The director is known for her films about adolescence (Water Lilies and Girlhood), but this isn’t actually the first time Sciamma has shined a light on childhood either. Her critically acclaimed 2011 film Tomboy, about a gender-nonconforming child, won the Teddy Jury Award at the Berlin International Film Festival that year.
9 years on, with the impeccable Portrait of a Lady on Fire under her belt and having provided the screenplay for the Academy Award-nominated My Life as a Courgette, Sciamma has only improved her craft. Chances are that this second look at childhood with Petite Maman will (somehow) be even better.
One of the best things about Portrait of a Lady on Fire was the cinematography. It remains one of the best-looking films I have ever seen, thanks in part to cinematographer Claire Mathon, who is joining Sciamma once more for Petite Maman. This alone promises that the upcoming film won’t just be a narratively great film, but astonish visually.
It speaks to the talent of Sciamma, and Mathon, how excited people are for this next project despite how little is known about it. A release date for Petite Maman is not yet known, but as soon as one is, I will be marking my calendar.
Words by George Bell
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