Nonna by Pascal Plante

A young woman spends a drunken evening with grandma.

Micheline is a senior who wants to get on Facebook. She enlists the assistance of her granddaughter, and together they spend a lovely afternoon remembering the past, aided by a few glasses of wine.

Director Pascal Plante’s heartwarming mix of documentary and narrative explores the grandparent/grandchild relationship with a tender but astute lens. The seemingly slender story actually offers a richness of emotion, and in the few short minutes of runtime, deepens our understanding of a beloved grandmother into a being rich with history and insight.

The anchor and undisputed star of the short is Micheline Chamberland, who is so wonderfully unself-conscious and expressive onscreen. At 83 years old, the non-actress shares easy wit, banter and laughs with her young granddaughter, radiating a warmth and positive energy that is infectious and joyful. As Micheline goes about the business of creating her Facebook profile, her character deepens with each memory and picture, but we never lose touch with her kindness, lovability or joie de vivre. Viewers will not be able to resist Micheline’s charms, and will likely find themselves wishing the film were longer, if only to spend more time in her company.

Beyond its performances, “Nonna” also is notable for its formal qualities and its mixing of genres. The film is a narrative, and the story and structure were planned. But the content and interactions are based heavily of Micheline’s memories and archives, and the dialogue was improvised.

“Nonna” has a charm, warmth and positivity that proves to be a tonic in an oversaturated, often troubled world. Well-crafted and well-paced, this is a heartfelt and warmhearted film that is simply a joy to watch, earning its emotions with genuine honesty.

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