Somewhere between fairytale and documentary, this startling debut feature sees French rural life, both austere and magical, through the perceptions of its remarkable star: four-year-old Nana.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2012
Fairytale seems to merge with documentary in this startling debut which captures the world from the perspective of a four-year-old girl. Nana lives with her brusque young mother in a little stone cottage at the edge of a forest. Wandering with her grandfather, she learns how to set rabbit traps; with her mother she gathers wood for their rudimentary stove. She watches the adult world, apparently unfazed by its harsher aspects, or becomes thoroughly absorbed in solitary play and storytelling. Upon returning home one day to find her mother gone, Nana applies her innocent knowledge to the new situation, oblivious to the dangers which we see everywhere. Director Valérie Massadian, deeply familiar with the Perche region in which her film is set, has drawn upon her young actress’ own life, but the plot as such arose from improvisation. She and the extraordinary Kelyna Lecomte stir the early childhood lurking in all of us, with its marvels, mysteries and fears. — SR