Double Bill: Nana & Jouer Ponette (2012)

02 September 2012

Innocence, naivity, curiosity and vulnerability are a few of the traits of the young protagonists in this double bill. These quiet compositions from two French-speaking directors remind us of the cinematic form as well as the nature of childhood.

Jouer Ponette
Dir Jeanne Crépeau / CA 2007 / 94 mins / French with English subtitles / U
This minimalist documentary focuses on behind the scenes footage of the talented four-year-old, actress Victoire Thivisol, working on the classic French film Ponette (Dir. Jacques Doillon / 1995). It is a rare insight into a director’s behaviour and the patience required to work with children on set.

The footage is based on the original video rushes created during the 1995 shooting of the film. In 1996, Victoire was, for many, the surprise winner of the Best Actress award at the Venice Film Festival.

Dir Valérie Massadian / FR 2011 / 68 mins / French with English subtitles / Cert 15
Starring: Kelyna Lecomte, Alain Sabras, Marie Delmas
Nana, the first feature film from director Valérie Massadian, is a quiet exploration of childhood in all its elusiveness.

Anchored by the non-performance of Kelyna Lecomte, in the titular role, as a young girl left alone to fend for herself after her impatient mother (Marie Delmas) leaves the small cabin they occupy on the outskirts of her grandfather’s pig farm, and never returns.

The film is intimate without being sentimental. Nana, was awarded the prize for Best Debut at the Locarno Film Festival, and the refined lighting and clever compositions betray Massadian’s background as a photographer; she worked with Nan Goldin for a long time.