Ponette (1996)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

France, 1996.  Les Films Alain Sarde, Rhône-Alpes Cinéma, Centre Européen Cinématographique Rhône-Alpes, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Canal+.  Screenplay by Jacques Doillon, collaboration with Brune Compagnon.  Cinematography by Caroline Champetier.  Venice Film Festival 1996.  

A little girl (Victoire Thivisol, who at the age of four won the Best Actress Award at the Venice Film Festival) loses her mother in a car accident and does not know how to process it. Her father, her aunt, the children at school all have their own ideas about the meaning of life and death, God and spirituality, and she is tossed about like a tumbleweed between all their opinions without being able to come up with a concrete one that she can understand. In between these conversations, she spends her more lonely moments truly missing the woman she depended on for everything. The ending adds a touch of whimsy to what was previously a realistic and sincere portrait of childhood; this will undermine everything before it for some audiences, while as others will appreciate the touch.

Toronto International Film Festival:  1996

Venice Film Festival Award:  Best Actress (Victoire Thivisol)

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