“‘Petite Maman’ Makes The Arthouse Film Accessible To Everyone”

Second verse, same as the first; a little quieter, and a little bit worse.

This refrain will sound familiar. The practice of releasing high-profile critic-bait films at the end of the year for only as many days as it takes to qualify for awards season is, and I’m being diplomatic, appalling scumbag impropriety. I “get” why studios do this, and in some cases, the gamble pays off; see The Worst Person in the World, which didn’t win an Oscar but was nominated for 2, and that’s probably enough.

All the same, the strategy bakes a certain dismissiveness into the intended goal of winning awards. Maybe the awards don’t matter. They didn’t matter to me when I covered Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire in 2020; they don’t matter to me now, either, which is why I covered Sciamma’s latest, Petite Maman

Attitudes in popular culture incentivized me to write about this wonderful film. The fact that it is wonderful played a part, too. You can read my full thoughts over at The Week.


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