Film: Rosetta

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Film:

Rosetta

Director: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
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Rosetta follows a troubled young woman as she goes through her difficult life. That is, it follows her literally: the entire film is shot with handheld cameras, usually right behind the heroine. Rosetta (Emilie Dequenne) lives in a Belgian trailer park with her alcoholic mother, making a little money selling clothes that she’s mended. When she finally gets a job and begins a friendship with a coworker, she believes she’s reaching some degree of the normal life she desperately craves. But when she loses her job, she takes turns that may ruin any chance for…

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Rosetta follows a troubled young woman as she goes through her difficult life. That is, it follows her literally: the entire film is shot with handheld cameras, usually right behind the heroine. Rosetta (Emilie Dequenne) lives in a Belgian trailer park with her alcoholic mother, making a little money selling clothes that she’s mended. When she finally gets a job and begins a friendship with a coworker, she believes she’s reaching some degree of the normal life she desperately craves. But when she loses her job, she takes turns that may ruin any chance for happiness. Describing the plot of Rosetta doesn’t capture the texture of the movie, which contains very few conventional cues to tell the viewer what’s going on at any moment. Instead, events often only make sense after they’re over, when you’ve finally gathered enough information to sort things out. It’s disorienting, and will frustrate some viewers, but gradually a rich sense of reality develops. Simple actions become dense with emotion, as the intense pressure of being a young girl, forced to take on the responsibilities of an adult, becomes more and more acute. Most of Rosetta is shot in close-ups, with very few scenes that give you a sense of the locations. The cameras—like Rosetta herself—rarely get a glimpse of the big picture. A difficult film to watch, but a rewarding one. —Bret Fetzer

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