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4.0 out of 5 stars Realism is An Understatement..., 15 July 2012
Tim Kidner "Hucklebrook Hound" (Salisbury, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Rosetta - (1999) - Émilie Dequenne, Fabrizio Rongione (DVD)
To say that Emilie Dequenne. the young actress playing Rosetta - and who won the Golden Palm at Cannes for her efforts here, is 'plucky', would sound patronising, to say the least.

This is structured documentary film-making at its most urgent - and poignant. The premise for most could hardly be less appealing - an independent film, filmed at a moderately sized Belgian industrial town, with an actress who wears no make-up (yes, the odd pimple, too) has an alcoholic mother who gets more booze by offering herself for sex and they both 'inhabit' a tiny, leaky caravan on a caravan park.

By plucky, I mean that Rosetta is almost always running - from someone, after someone - including her own mother - to a job, from a job. When not doing that, she gets thrown in a lake (by same person as above), catching fish in said very muddy lake, using a broken glass jar. She is always trying to either get work, keep her job or survive, somehow.

This all sounds quite frantic - and it is, when the hand-held camera follows her, is glued to her, almost, as she goes past so close, she briefly goes out of focus. But often, it is meditative, thought-provoking and downright very ordinary. Which, oddly, is extremely compelling, never more so during the gaps in dialogue.

Underneath this hardened facade - she only swears and fights when really pressed, then she's like a terrier dog - we hope to see a normal young lady, who can do things that she enjoys. We only see this once, when the young man at the new waffle-van where she finally gets a casual job, takes her after the first day, back to his, for food and playing of some music.

If this is SO mundanely glum, why am I watching it for the second time? Well, my Halliwells Film Guide (bible, to me) rated it highly and I got a copy cheap as a Korean import and secondly, you just know that there is a message here. Not necessarily a very important one, but one that we need to reminded of, when we all (and our Governments) continually moan about the youth of today and how they never want to work - and about caring for those unable to care for themselves.

It's also very sobering (definitely no pun intended) and one with an ending that you'll long remember.
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Rosetta - (1999) - Émilie Dequenne, Fabrizio Rongione
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