News  ·  07 | 08 | 2022


Julie Lerat-Gersant | Concorso Cineasti del presente

In film, how do we interpret the rather common story of a minor facing an unwanted pregnancy in a personal sense? Let us see what approach is taken in this feature-length debut by Julie Lerat-Gersant, who has been active in the French theater scene for many years and co-founded the company La Piccola Familia. So, without disappointing us, in the film Lerat-Gersant possesses a very sensitive eye for the nuances of her actors' acting. Petites is all built on the performances of its actors, especially Pili Groyne, previously seen in Two Days, One Night (2014) by the Dardenne brothers and The Brand New Testament (2015) by Jaco Van Dormael, here in the role of the sixteen-year-old protagonist, Camille. Between outbursts of anger and moments of despair, Groyne's ordeal is an emotional rollercoaster that Lerat-Gersant's direction indulges, likewise for the other cast members. The dialogue flows at the speed of light, trying to reproduce the frenzy of speech, to seek a naturalism of conversation that should favor the identification, at least by adolescent or post-adolescent viewers. What distinguishes Petites from the countless other films that question the theme of abortion is its setting in an institution for pregnant girls or single mothers. Therefore, the film dwells not only on the conflicting or friendly relationships among the young women guests of the facility, but also considers the experiences and emotions of the professionals working there, the educators, psychologists, and the director. The maternity home where Camille is sent to live for six months by the judge is a real microcosm, but for her, who has not yet cut the umbilical cord from her mother who is as loving as she is unstable, it is initially just a cage to escape from. Before developing a sort of attachment to the baby she is carrying in her womb and understanding that an interruption of pregnancy, a sacrosanct right, is not the same as scratching off her nail polish, Camille invests the role of another significant companion of misfortune, the rebellious Alison, who already has a little daughter, Diana, to look after, and who is, among other things, asthmatic. No less interesting is the relationship between Camille and the boy who made her pregnant, Mehdi, with whom she thought of going to Holland to have an abortion: in a film that has feelings at its center, we emphasize the complexity of this fragile and discontinuous love story, in which the male figure is not simply an ugly and dirty monster to be blamed. 

Francesco Grieco 

Romane Bohringer, co-star, made a name for herself in 1992 in Savage Nights, by Cyril Collard, winning the César Award for Most Promising Actress