Nona and her daughters: we saw the first series of Valérie Donzelli for Arte

Julia fernandez
Julia fernandez

TV Series Journalist

Child of the 90s bottle-fed at the Saturday Trilogy, Julia spent her adolescence devouring American series. Having become an adult (or almost), she specializes in French series, and puts her passion at the service of fictions that help society to tell its story.

Presented in French competition at the Séries Mania festival, “Nona et ses filles” is a fable full of tenderness and poetry about motherhood, in which Miou-Miou delivers a touching portrait of a woman.

Nona and her daughters: we saw the first series of valérie donzelli for arte
Manuel Moutier

Nona, ex-sixty-eight, is an independent woman who has always campaigned for women’s rights. After having raised only his daughters, triplets conceived following a short story, worked all his life in a family planning in the heart of the district of Goutte d’Or in Paris. At seventy, her three daughters now adults, she can finally enjoy life with her lover, André. But when she finds herself five and a half months pregnant, everything collapses …

Director Valérie Donzelli, whose moving and poetic style has emerged throughout her filmography (The Queen of Apples, The War Is Declared, Notre Dame), has a special place in French auteur cinema. With Nona and her daughters, she turned to television for the first time, and composed for the Arte channel an astonishing family portrait: that of a mother who raised her daughters freely, and now finds herself confronted with a a pregnancy as inexplicable as it was devastating at an age when she could finally refocus on her own desires.
The 9 x 30 minute format of the series allows its director – who worked on the writing with screenwriter Clémence Madeleine-Perdrillat (Mixed) – to exploit with undisguised pleasure recurring aspects of her cinema, such as the musical comedy through sung sequences, or warm settings in small interiors made of odds and ends and full of details.

Facing Nona, played by a surprising Miou-Miou in the role of this free and elusive woman who does what she wants and whose pride clashes with her feelings, there is Manu (Virginie Ledoyen), mother at the home whose marriage is in turmoil, Gaby (Clotilde Hesme) sexologist without ties, and finally George (played by Valérie Donzelli), who has never managed to leave the family cocoon or to finish her thesis.
Through this incredible and almost supernatural story (we do not know who the father of Nona’s child is), the series is very moving in what it says about motherhood and the right of women to dispose of their bodies, and where the men, secondary, are reduced to amusing archetypal figures: the lover (Michel Vuillermoz), the sexy caregiver (Barnaby Metschurat) or the earthy family doctor (Rüdiger Volger).

The actresses, in tune, deliver a cheerful choral score in the role of triplets, each having inherited a male nickname and chosen family, work or studies as a refuge. Their mother’s ordeal will give them the opportunity to strengthen family ties, but also to confront themselves and their own frustrations. A fable about the sorority as unique as it is successful, Nona and her daughters will be broadcast in early December on Arte.

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