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Les Petites Vacances

Director: Olivier Peyon

France. 2006. 90mins


A day trip with her grandchildren takes a psychological turn when retired schoolteacher Danielle refuses to return the kids to their parents. What begins as a grand adventure for the children, however, becomes alarming as their grandmother’s behavior grows increasingly erratic. Olivier Peyon’s delicate, character-driven debut feature film impressively examines the isolation and alienation of older people who have been made to feel redundant. Veteran actress Bernadette Lafont, who began her career as a teenager at the dawn of the French New Wave in Truffaut’s 1957 short Les Mistons, delivers an intelligent, subtle performance as a woman whose placid demeanor hides a rising desperation. This is a deeply human drama; the relationship between grandmother and pre-teen grandaughter is heartbreakingly loving beneath its complexities, and the beautiful, aging Danielle has a transcendent moment of romance in a tender sequence that reunites the actress with long-ago co-star Claude Brasseur.

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