you trust your
mother with your
children? Of course you
would! But in Les Petites
Veronique sends her son
and daughter on a train
journey to see their father
for the Easter holidays
accompanied by her
mother Danielle they
may not be as safe
as she believes...
WHEN THEY REACH THEIR DESTINATION, they are met by their father Philippe's
girlfriend, Dominique (Béatrice Cheramy), who tells them that
their father has been held up in Stockholm. Dominique has to go back to work,
so retired schoolteacher Danielle (Bernadette Lafont) offers to take
the children out in Philippe's car.
Desperate to keep her beloved grandchildren with her, Danielle seizes the opportunity
to spend some time with Marine and Thomas and takes off in the car staying
in a luxury hotel and taking a boat trip, hiring
a car and ending up deliberately losing her mobile and crossing the Swiss border
to pay a visit to her gentle friend Nicole (Claire Nadeau). In Olivier Peyon's
fantastic award-nominated film of manipulation, deception and betrayal, creditable
performances come from all the actors as Danielle's behaviour becomes increasing
erratic, unpredict-able, dangerous and at times bordering on schizophrenic.
As Danielle falls apart, glimpses of the pain that drives her are visible: she
borrows her granddaughter's dress to go midnight-dancing with a stranger; and,
asked to look after a wedding dress, she clings to it as she clings to the dreams
of her youth.
Marine (Adèle Csech) and Thomas (Lucas Franchi) are, themselves, experiencing
the first waves of adolescence and rebellion and when a promised sailing trip
from Stephane (Benjamin Rolland) a young man they have met at the waterside
falls through, Marine has a classic 'strop'. Les Petites Vacances
starts out as a very ordinary family outing but soon turns into a convincing
and compulsive thriller that keeps you guessing what Danielle will do next.
There are some touching scenes where the children show concern for their grandmother
and an unforgettable image of a truck laden with tree trunks, shown from the
car with the wipers clearing spots of rain. Beautiful Alpine scenery lifts the
mood of Les Petites Vacances and there are also wonderful, carefree images
of childhood by a babbling brook.
Nominated for Best Film at the 2006 Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival,
Peyon's stunning debut feature portrays the down-
ward spiral of a lonely, aging woman desperately trying to avoid her impending
A leading French New Wave figure, Bernadette Lafont puts in a strong performance
in Les Petites Vacances that perfectly succeeds in creating a dark atmosphere
of unease despite those picturesque country locations and the lovely
music by Jérôme Baur in this stylish and elegant thriller.
Dogwoof Pictures is delighted to present a beautiful story of family life and
drama: Les Petites Vacances is available on DVD on 10 March (2008) at
an RRP of £14.99. Special Features: Two short films by Olivier Peyon and short
documentary Strictly Bernadette Lafont.
"A discreet gem: Go out of your way to see it" Jonathan Romney, The
Independent on Sunday
"Beautiful and melancholic" Empire
"Nouvelle Vague muse Bernadette Lafont is mesmerising as a grand-mother on the
run in this finely wrought, leisurely debut from Olivier Peyon" Time
"…a convincing and compulsive thriller that keeps you guessing to the very last