The feature film debut of current and remarkably accomplished Radcliffe-Harvard Film Study Center Fellow Valérie Massadian is a visually ravishing and enigmatically disquieting fable of a young child's self-reliance and precocious discovery of the brooding shadow world of adulthood. Shot in rural France, Nana centers with resolute fixity upon its titular heroine, a four-year-old girl portrayed by non-actor Kelyna Lecomte, and her slowly unwinding daily life on her grandfather's pig farm. Massadian's wonderfully elliptical film opens deep mysteries as the adults each disappear from the film and frame, a brute fact accepted with stoic solemnity by the child. Other mysteries linger within Massadian's assured long-takes and within the brute adult phrases spoken in fractured monologue by Nana herself. Massadian's artistic career began not in cinema but in still photography, where she worked as assistant to the legendary Nan Goldin, an experience that clearly grounds her careful framing and depth of imagery. Inspired by a revelatory experience with the films of Pedro Costa, Massadian ambitiously and successfully embraces a rigorous ethics of realism, launching an infinitely promising filmmaking career. – Haden Guest
AmericaDirected by Valérie Massadian.
With Solomon Calvert-Adera.
France/US, 2013, DCP, color, 7 min.
French with English subtitles.