Films & Schedules

  • Maman est chez le coiffeur
    Mommy Is at the Hairdresser's

  • Léa Pool

98 minutes

Production Company:
Les Productions Équinoxe
Lyse Lafontaine, Michael Mosca
Isabelle Hébert
Production Designer:
Patrice Bengle
Daniel Jobin
Dominique Fortin
Thierre Morlaas-Lurbe, Claude Beaugrand, Luc Boudrias
Laurent Eyquem
Principal Cast: Céline Bonnier, Laurent Lucas, Marianne Fortier, Gabriel Arcand

Canadian Distributor:
Équinoxe Films
International Sales Agent:
Seville Pictures International

Tuesday September 0906:00PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 4 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Thursday September 1103:15PM AMC 7 Best Bet Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Set in the mid-sixties, Léa Pool's vibrant and beautifully crafted Maman est chez le coiffeur focuses on teenaged Élise, who is about to realize that the adult world is not exactly what she thought or hoped it would be. Her principal instructors are her father, the local doctor, and her mother, a frustrated career woman and part-time journalist. A rift between mother and daughter has been growing for a long time, and when a frustrated Élise is disciplined, she begins meddling, sparking her mother's abrupt and angry departure. While the impact of this absence is disastrous for them all, it is especially devastating for Élise, who is now forced to care for her father and brothers.

Superficially, this may seem like a coming-of-age story, but Pool is more interested in the separate unsustainable worlds inhabited by men and women in the years before feminism. The women in the film are frustrated and bored, with either too much time on their hands or no space (mental or physical) to call their own. The men may have some of their immediate needs cared for, but they're not exactly better off.

These inherent fissures in the family structure and the makeshift solutions people come up with have only consigned the children to neglect. Ironically, the kids' world is persistently invaded by the adults. When a friend, in a gesture that is somehow both innocent and prurient, invites Élise and her oldest brother to see his aunt naked, the prank turns comically horrifying. (The scene restages Jeffrey's trip to the closet in Blue Velvet, minus David Lynch's Gothic surrealism.)

Throughout, Pool opts for a languid, summery tone, a perfect counterpoint to Élise's tumultuous mindset. As Élise grows somewhat reluctantly more aware of what is going on around her, the atmosphere of the film seems timeless, paradoxically intensifying our sense that time is passing quickly. The film is far from a tract: vital and very funny, it is a perfect companion piece to Pool's last masterpiece, Emporte-moi. What is most unnerving about it, however, is that her fictional world doesn't exactly feel like a distant mirror. In fact, it seems very close to our own.

Steve Gravestock

Léa Pool was born in Geneva, Switzerland. She moved to Quebec and studied communications at L'Université du Québec à Montréal. Her feature films include La Femme de l'hôtel (84), Anne Trister (86), À corps perdu (88), La Demoiselle sauvage (91), Mouvements du désir (93), Emporte-moi (99), Lost and Delirious (00) and Le Papillon bleu (02). Mama est chez le coiffeur (08) is her latest feature.

Cadillac People's Choice Award