My Little Princess

My Little Princess is a 2011 French-Romanian drama film directed by Eva Ionesco and inspired by her relationship with her mother, the well-known artistic photographer Irina Ionesco whose pictures of her young daughter caused controversy when they were published back in the 1970s.[1]

My Little Princess
French poster
Directed byEva Ionesco
Produced byFrançois-Xavier Frantz
Written byEva Ionesco
Marc Cholodenko
Philippe Le Guay
StarringIsabelle Huppert
Anamaria Vartolomei
Denis Lavant
Louis-Do de Lencquesaing
Music byBertrand Burgalat
CinematographyJeanne Lapoirie
Edited byLaurence Briaud
Les Productions Bagheera
Canal +
France 2
Distributed bySophie Dulac Distribution
Release date
  • 17 May 2011 (2011-05-17) (Cannes)
  • 29 June 2011 (2011-06-29)
Running time
105 minutes


Violetta is raised by her grandmother ("Mamie", the French equivalent of "Grandma").[2] Her mother Hanna tries to make a living on taking photographs and concentrates on her dreams to become a famous artist. In order to succeed as an artist she doesn't worry about dating men of questionable reputation.[3] Only every now and then her mother visits her daughter but during these occasions it occurs to her that her daughter could be a potential model. She starts exploiting her daughter who by transforming into a kind of Lolita becomes increasingly alienated from other children of her age.[4] At school she is eventually frequently insulted and rejected.[5] Then Mamie dies and Hanna's photographs are about to unequivocally overstep the line of acceptability.[6][7] Hanna even coerces Violetta mercilessly into cooperation by withholding her food in case she doesn't agree to pose for increasingly daring photographs.[8] Eventually Hanna's right of custody for her twelve-year-old daughter is at stake.[9]



German magazine Focus found Anamaria Vartolomei was convincing as a young girl whose life eventually turns into a nightmare because of her mother's artistic ambitions in 1970s Paris.[10]

Painful personal experience is distilled into poignant drama in Eva Ionesco’s promising first feature My Little Princess. Autobiographical events from the 1970s are shaped into a fairytale-like narrative illuminating the abusive nature of Ionesco’s relationship with her mother Irina and eternal arguments over the limits of artistic freedom.

— Allan Hunter – Screen Daily [11]

Critics also commented that Anamaria Vartolomei and Isabelle Huppert have portrayed the lack of affection so convincingly that they have even been accused of interacting insufficiently as actors.[12] Regarding this, Huppert told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in an interview that shooting of the film had been one of her more peculiar professional experiences because on the set she had had the feeling she was indeed the director's mother.[13]


  1. ^ "selfishness is consistent throughout the film but particularly in the early days of their working relationship". Retrieved 2011-10-17.
  2. ^ "Violetta vit avec sa grand-mère et souffre de l'absence de sa mère". Retrieved 2011-10-17.
  3. ^ "mother Hanna (Isabelle Huppert) is away living a bohemian lifestyle, mixing with other artists of dubious character". Archived from the original on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2011-10-17.
  4. ^ "Violetta turns into a Lolita figure, standing forlornly in the school playground in tight hot pants". Retrieved 2011-10-17.
  5. ^ "À l'école, ses camrades l'insultent et la rejettent". Archived from the original on 2012-04-25. Retrieved 2011-10-17.
  6. ^ Debruge, Peter (2011-05-17). "Pic's most troubling scene involves a special commission, in which Hanah instructs her daughter to strip". Variety. Retrieved 2011-10-17.
  7. ^ "La jeune fille avait même simulé à 11 ans des actes sexuels dans un film". Retrieved 2011-10-17.
  8. ^ "Ihre Mutter, Irina, macht unerbittlich klar: ohne Fotos – kein Essen". Retrieved 2011-10-24.
  9. ^ Rooney, David (2011-05-18). "Hannah is accused of being an unfit mother". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2011-10-17.
  10. ^ "Die Nachwuchsschauspielerin Anamaria Vartolomei überzeugt als junges Mädchen, für die der Traum ihrer Mutter von einer Künstlerkarriere im Paris der 70er Jahre zum Alptraum wird". Retrieved 2011-10-24.
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ "Malheureusement, elles jouent toutes seules, chacune de leur côté". Archived from the original on 2012-04-04. Retrieved 2011-10-17.
  13. ^ "Ich habe diese Mutter gespielt, eine starke, herrische, aber auch verwundbare Frau, war am Set also quasi die Mutter der Regisseurin – eine merkwürdige Erfahrung". Retrieved 2011-10-23.

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