7.6/10
3,524
43 user 37 critic

Ponette (1996)

A four-year-old girl tries to come to terms with the sudden death of her mother.

Director:

Writers:

, (scenario collaborator: for first draft)
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11 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Ponette
Delphine Schiltz ...
Delphine
Matiaz Bureau Caton ...
Matiaz
Léopoldine Serre ...
Ada
Marie Trintignant ...
La mère
...
Le père
Claire Nebout ...
La tante
Aurélie Vérillon ...
Aurélie
Henri Berthon ...
L'Instituteur
Carla Ibled ...
Carla
Luckie Royer ...
Luce
Antoine du Merle ...
Antoine
Marianne Favre ...
Marianne
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hadrien Bouvier ...
Extra
Benjamin Lemaire ...
Anthony
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Storyline

An extremely captivating movie on how a little girl copes with her mother's death. She withdraws from all the people around her, waiting for her mother to come back. She tries waiting, and when her mother still doesn't appear, tries magic chants, praying to God, and then becoming a child of God, to have some power over Him. All to no avail. But then, when she is in despair, her mother does come back ... Written by Rahul Dodhia <rdodhia@psych.columbia.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 March 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ponette  »

Box Office

Gross:

$1,400,000 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The magic spell the kids say, "Ta'ali Takum", is actually the "Talitha koum" of Jesus. In Mark 5:41, Jesus says the phrase "Talitha koum" (Aramaic for "Little girl, get up") to a dead girl, when he resurrects her. See more »

Goofs

In the cemetery scene, Ponette is shown piling dirt onto her legs as she kneels beside the grave. In the next shot, her legs have no dirt and her pants are clean. See more »

Quotes

La tante: Ponette, why don't you play with Matiaz?
Ponette: I can't.
La tante: What are you doing?
Ponette: I can't tell you.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Killing Floor (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Subtle examination of a tender situation
21 November 2002 | by (Kalamazoo, MI) – See all my reviews

I do not believe I have ever seen a film that comes anywhere close to "Ponette" before. While I would not consider it my favorite film that I could watch over and over and over, it is easily one of the stronger movies I have seen. Rarely do I view a film that is so precise and cohesive even though it simultaneously plays off so many different themes, like sentimentallity, nostalgia (we all remember the strange social world of the playground though maybe some of us don't want to go back), the pain of loss, and (gasp) humor. Most directors and actors would get lost at one point or another, not knowing how to segue or shift from one tone to another, but here there is nary a problem with doing so, which is especially amazing considering the leading lady has been walking and talking for about as long as it takes to make a bowl of oatmeal.

The best scenes for me were the trials that the older girl put Ponette through. The dumpster one was especially great. Considering that early on in the film I sympathized with Ponette when she cried during some scenes, I felt bad laughing at her suffering through the tests, especially when her hand got caught when the dumpster lid came down. I believe some of this movie was improv, so for all I know, the poor girl really got her hand hurt, but I remember those type of moments as a child; those tests of stamina, durability, agility, etc. I put my younger brother through some horrific ones. One time he broke his arm. How could I have been so cruel?

A performance artist/singer named Suran Song recommended I watch this film. In Suran's performance, she actually uses slides of the scene where the mean little punk Antoine is playing with Ponette on the playground and begins to verbally abuse her about her mothers death. The context Suran used the scene in her act seemed to be making a statement about how people treat others in society, even when very young. Interesting how she sort of sampled an individual scene and made it into a story of her own, because it plays much differently in the film as a whole (obviously) since we know the characters.

Probably not for everyone, but certainly for those who want to a see a piece of work very left-of-center yet not oddball in any way; simply a viewpoint that wouldn't normally seem worth making an entire feature film out of because it would be hard to pull off. Ponette is not only pulled off... it goes flying to the moon.


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