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Petites Vacances, Les (Stolen Holidays)


Stars: Bernadette Lafont, Adele Csech, Lucas Franchi, Claire Nadeau

Director: Olivier Payon

This inconsequential French film, a vehicle for Fifties screen siren Bernadette Lafont, starts nicely, even if its initial narrative is a little unclear. Daniele (Lafont) is taking her two grandchildren, 12-year-old Marie (Csech) and seven-year-old Thomas (Franchi), whose parents are divorced, to their father for the Easter holidays.

Finding them left with his girlfriend, Daniele, on impulse, fails to return home, but takes them out 'for the day'. Subject to dizzy spells and perhaps sensing that the end may be near, she then hauls the somewhat reluctant children off on an extended holiday, visiting old friends and familiar places - and cannot bring herself to take them back.

The tale works quite well in its early stages, up to a charming interlude at a hotel where Daniele dances with a roguish stranger (veteran Claude Brasseur). After this, however, it does drone on and on, with endless shots of Daniele driving. An unpleasant tone creeps in, too: why, for example, does Daniele beat a frightened polecat to death?

Altogether it's quite a long and wearying 91 minutes. It doesn't end quite as you might expect, but you're grateful for the closure anyway.

Alan Frank

France 2006. UK Distributor: Dogwoof. Colour by Eclair.
91 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 24 Jun 2007