Rosetta (1999) : Review

Review by Marcus Zizzou  

The Lowdown     Directed by J.P Dardenne/L.Dardenne

                               Lead Actress Emile Dequenne

                                Run Time 95 mins


rosetta-review The Brief    : Desperate Rosetta looks for work, hope and an escape from her Precariat upbringing.

 Rosetta first and foremost is a fabulous film. It was the Winner of the Palme d’or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1999.The Film begins with Rosetta being fired from work and continues with her struggles to find employment and live a normal life, a different one than the Caravan Park that her and her alcoholic Mother live on. Alone and hardened with the stresses and strains of literally trying to keep her head above water. She is determined and almost feral like in her nature. It’s obvious her upbringing has been difficult. Emile Dequenne who portrays Rosetta was a complete unknown but walked away with the Best Actress Award at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival. It’s such a natural performance that’s flawless. As the film unwinds her desperation leads to a surprising moral dilemma for the viewer whether to continue to root for the protagonist? The Dardennes ‘pull the rug’ under you to set you off kilter and this sets up the Third Act perfectly. It’s shot with Hand Held Cameras and gets you right up close to Rosetta which at first I found distracting but gives you the full facial emotions of her unknowingly pretty face. There is no score, just the sounds of Rosetta’s surroundings and her constant marching from location to location in search of a job,food and a happier existence. The ending is ambiguous and I must admit I saw it differently to some after researching the film. Rosetta isn’t a fast paced film, but its gripping, with a grim reality of life, and leaves you mulling over social issues and her plight.

The Verdict    A-

If you this film try Dardennes L’Enfant