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Ponette (1996)

Cast: Victoire Thivisol, Victoire Thivisol, Xavier Beauvois, more...
Director: Jacques Doillon, Jacques Doillon
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Studio: Fox Lorber
Genre: Drama, Foreign, France
Running Time: 92 min.
Languages: French
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

This title is currently out of print.

A four-year-old girl must come to terms with the loss of her mother and the reality of death in this award-winning French drama. Little Ponette (Victoire Thivisol) is riding in a car with her mother when they're involved in a serious accident; Ponette survives, but her mother does not. Her father (Xavier Beauvois) initially reacts with anger over his late wife's careless driving, while her Aunt Claire (Claire Nebout) tries to comfort the child by telling her about Jesus and the resurrection. However, none of this does much to reassure Ponette or clarify her confusion about the practical realities and spiritual dilemma posed by death. In time, Ponette and her cousins Matiaz (Matiaz Caton) and Delphine (Delphine Schiltz) are sent off to boarding school, where they have to resolve their confusion and loss on their own. Writer and director Jacques Doillon carefully coached Victoire Thivisol (who was too young to read the screenplay) through her performance; the results earned the child Best Actress honors at the 1996 Venice Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Children's World by Basil918 April 20, 2004 - 9:17 AM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
Excellent and very unusual entry into the world of childhood. Understated, peculiar, true to the experience of children's unfolding comprehension and inevitable misunderstanding and mythologizing of the world around them. Reminded me of Roddy Doyle's great novel, "Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha." Unsentimental, and full of feeling -- a glimpse at ourselves as social animals with imagination and limited perception. Occasionally funny, and probably unforgettable.

Can a film be TOO good sometimes? by larbeck August 4, 2003 - 1:42 PM PDT
2 out of 7 members found this review helpful
I give this film an 8 even though I have to leave it and could not watch. I often will decide that I am going to see film and then boycott anymore information until I see it.

***SPOILER ***

Although words are hard to spoil what unfolds. A very young girl's mother dies. Her estrangled father takes her and it driving her to her new home. Halfway there, the horror of the child's loss hits her and she naturally cries her little heart out to the sky. Her father freaks, stops the car, takes her and puts her on the hood of the car and screams at her - "She's gone! She's gone" She is never coming back! You have to get used to that".

It was too much for me. I felt as if I was watching a film of psychological child abuse. My body could not accept that it was a scripted film with actors. I wanted to kick that rude bastard's ass so bad. Ponette was so young. I could not take. I had to leave, I could take no more. I probably have some fact or two screwed up here - it was just tooo intense for me.

Later, my friends were a bit upset with me - they explained that the director got to know the child actors, at there level, actually spending much time with time at their eye level, and he is gifted at drawing them out to give great, great performances. That is was NOT real - it was a scripted film with actors. But that scene is just sooooo real. I still suspect that the child got confused and started to believe that it was true that her mother had died. It echoes the cries of my own young daughters who lost their beloved grandfather at about the same age but maybe I am just bringing my own stuff into this. I dunno.

I do ask...can a film, a drama, just be TOO damn good sometimes?

This is one I never want to re-experience.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.25)
79 Votes
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