IMDb > Le petit amour (1988)
Kung-fu master!
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Le petit amour (1988) More at IMDbPro »Kung-fu master! (original title)


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Down 3% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Jane Birkin (story)
Agnès Varda (writer)
View company contact information for Le petit amour on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
November 1989 (USA) See more »
He was 15. She was 40. Love is where you find it.
Mary-Jane asks, "Do all women fall in love with a boy, or just those without sons?" She's divorced with two daughters... See more » | Add synopsis »
1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Appearances, desire See more (7 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Jane Birkin ... Mary-Jane

Mathieu Demy ... Julien

Charlotte Gainsbourg ... Lucy
Lou Doillon ... Lou
Gary Chekchak ... Un jeune
Cyril Houplain ... Un jeune
Frank Laurent ... Un jeune
Aurélien Hermant ... Un jeune
Jérémie Luntz ... Un jeune
Thomas Bensaïd ... Un jeune
Pénélope Pourriat ... Une jeune
Ninon Vinsonneau ... Une jeune
Bégonia Leis ... Une jeune
Eva Simonet ... L'amie

Judy Campbell ... La mère
David Birkin ... Le père
Andrew Birkin ... Le frère
André Six
Suzanne Seguin
José Muñoz (as Jose Muñoz)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Stephen Fry ... Himself (in AIDS sketch) (archive footage) (uncredited)

Peter Gabriel ... Himself (in condom ad) (archive footage) (uncredited)

Hugh Laurie ... Himself (in AIDS sketch) (archive footage) (uncredited)
Stéphane Ly-Cuong ... Un jeune (uncredited)

Directed by
Agnès Varda 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Jane Birkin  story
Agnès Varda  writer

Original Music by
Joanna Bruzdowicz 
Cinematography by
Pierre-Laurent Chénieux 
Film Editing by
Marie-Josée Audiard 
Set Decoration by
Philippe Bernard 
Makeup Department
Edith Remy .... makeup artist
Production Management
Oury Milshtein .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Marie-Josée Audiard .... second assistant director
Clemence Barret .... third assistant director
Jacques Royer .... assistant director
Philippe Tourret .... third assistant director
Sound Department
Paul Bertault .... sound mixer
Gilbert Crozet .... synchronization
Jonathan Liebling .... sound effects
Olivier Schwob .... sound
Camera and Electrical Department
Nathalie Crédou .... assistant camera
Etienne George .... still photographer
Pierre Gordower .... camera operator
Catherine Kalmar .... assistant camera
Jeanne Lapoirie .... camera operator
Michele Laurent .... still photographer (as Michèle Laurent)
Georges Manuélis .... electrician
Pascal Pajaud .... electrician
Sylvie Scala .... assistant still photographer
Denis Scozzesi .... key grip
Karim Youkama .... key grip
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Rose-Marie Melka .... wardrober
Editorial Department
Isabelle Lorente .... assistant editor
Jean-Philippe Vallespir .... assistant editor
Location Management
Naomi Gryn .... location manager
Other crew
Patricia Conord .... administrator
Patrick Crucy .... technician
Majo Dariuda .... continuity
Marie-Pierre Duboscq .... administrator
Patrick Dumont .... general manager
Mireille Henrio .... organisator
Marcel Mazoyer .... technician
Oury Milshtein .... general manager
Matthew Mohatt .... organization in London
Véronique Moricet .... administrator
Marie-Florence Roncayolo .... continuity
Philippe Saal .... organisator
Danielle Vaugon .... organisator
Jane Birkin .... dedicatee (as Jane B.)
Gabriella Crawford .... thanks
Mathieu Demy .... dedicatee (as Mathieu D.)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Kung-fu master!" - France (original title)
See more »
USA:80 min
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Named after video game Kung fu MasterSee more »
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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful.
Appearances, desire, 10 July 2015
Author: chaos-rampant from Greece

The story here is about a woman falling for the 14 year old classmate of her daughter's, but forget about the story now, it's not a prurient film of course and seeing just a 'social issue' movie would miss the whole point. This is a small exercise on context by Varda but as astute as ever.

Varda seems to be parodying the notion that her film would have just a social relevance by having the AIDS scare of the time so prevalent throughout - the film is from the late 80s, it evokes a distinct air of the time when youths crowded arcade parlors and TV segments on HIV sounded doom for mankind - or preempts it, perhaps unsure herself if it's not unavoidably going to be that in the end.

But see something else, about the narrative horizon in which things acquire their significance.

The woman who simply has these feelings one day that threaten to bring down everything, in context of what she experiences, it's a real affection for the boy, it shakes her in earnest. The boy who acts all grownup around her, bringing her flowers like a man would, later in a hotel plans to seduce her, but Varda has specifically taken care to show that he becomes just a kid with his peers or always off to a video game.

The film's title comes from a video game that he plays in the arcade parlor, in the game's nested story-within a hero fights monsters to make it all the way to the top level so he can set free a princess kept prisoner. This is of course a deliberate confluence by Varda. We'd like to think of love in this way, as something that frees us, but what if it's sometimes fiction? Meaning, the woman is simply not mindful that the boy inhabits a wholly different context than hers, simply playing a game of love.

And this is what Varda marvelously depicts later in a scene where the kids are goofing with Nazi paraphernalia in a room. A parent who walked in and thought the kids have strayed into budding Nazism would have only been misled by appearances, inhabiting a horizon in which objects (Nazi stuff) are charged with their narrative significance. But as the scene plays out Varda shows that it's evidently just another game for them.

This is the exercise, on how phenomena give rise to illusory narrative, on how illusory narrative traps us in illusory significance, chimeras of our desires. It isn't about nostalgia or passionate love. Love doesn't equal truth, unless it's shared in truth. This was a point made in Le Bonheur. In my ongoing project I'm after filmmakers who abet mindfulness, the wisdom that comes from it, and Varda has this.

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