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Les Petites Vacances (Stolen Holidays)
Les Petites Vacances (Stolen Holidays) Would you trust your
  mother with your
  children? Of course you
  would! But in Les Petites
, when
  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 old age.

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 Out

"…a convincing and compulsive thriller that keeps you guessing to the very last frame" — MotorBar