Un Petit Frère

Mother and Son

Léonor Serraille

International Feature Film Competition

1989. Rose, a single mother, has immigrated to Paris from the Ivory Coast with her young sons Jean and Ernest. She lives cramped in the suburbs with her sister, building a new life for herself: cleaning in a hotel, spending nights out, and escaping into romantic encounters with potential suitors. She is a devoted mother who tenderly cares for her boys—instilling in them the urge to strive for a better life, to educate themselves and become good, better men. Finally finding a partner, she moves to Rouen with him and her sons.

Ten years later. Jean struggles with his exams and to find his place in society. Both sons, on their own, must fend for themselves. Rose works in Paris only coming to visit on weekends. Tensions increase when she returns with a new man—a partner the boys reject. Another decade later, Ernest—now a philosophy professor in Paris—has gained the recognition his mother desired for him. Still, he lives estranged from her and alone; his brother has also vanished from his life.

Léonor Serraile’s second feature intimately chronicles a family’s unity and ultimate unraveling over three decades, avoiding the trappings often prevalent in migration stories. A moving, intergenerational portrait where the choices of one individual can have a profound impact on all.

Director / Script

Léonor Serraille


Hélène Louvart


Clémence Carré


Anne Dupouy


Annabelle Lengronne, Stéphane Bak, Kenzo Sambin, Laetitia Dosch, Thibaut Evrard, Ahmed Sylla, Milan Doucansi, Jean-Christophe Folly


Sandra da Fonseca, Blue Monday Productions


France 3 Cinéma


mk2 Films

Director Léonor Serraille

Léonor Serraille

Léonor Serraille (1986, France) is a writer and director from Lyon. She has a master’s degree in general and comparative literature from the University Sorbonne-Nouvelle. Her debut film Jeune Femme (2017) earned her critical acclaim, winning the Prix du Jury award at Champs-Élysées Film Festival and the Golden Camera at Cannes Film Festival, and earning her an Un Certain Regard nomination. She was drawn to the theme of motherhood for Mother and Son (2022) after having two children of her own, while the fictional family’s move from Africa was partly sparked by the experience of her partner who emigrated to France from Africa when he was young.

Films by Léonor Serraille
Jeune Femme 2017 | Body 2016