Reviewed by: Nicholas Dawson

To be honest, I was not expecting to like or enjoy Rosetta. As a result, I was blown away. The Dardenne Brothers' fourth feature is a masterpiece of realist cinema.

Rosetta is a French teenager doing anything she can to survive, while also having to support her alcoholic mother. At the start of the film she is unfairly dismissed from a factory job she dearly needed to keep. But hope arrives in the form of waffle seller Riquet, who gets her a job at the local bakery. When she is once again sacked for no discernible reason, she reacts by telling her boss that Riquet is ripping him off.

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As Rosetta, Emilie Dequenne gives an astonishing performance, showing maturity and depth beyond her meagre years. The script is such that you don't realise there is one. Steadicam photography is often a gamble, leaving the film looking unprofessional and silly; here it is exactly right. Enthralling, gripping and brilliant throughout, this film is reality in the raw.

Rosetta won the Palme D'Or and Best Actress for Dequenne at this year's Cannes festival. The prizes were richly deserved, and I strongly suggest that you see the film to find out just why.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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An isolated teen hunts for a job... and friendship.
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Angus Wolfe Murray ***

Director: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne

Writer: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne

Starring: Emilie Dequenne, Fabrizio Rongione, Anne Yernaux, Olivier Gourmet

Year: 1999

Runtime: 95 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Belgium


EIFF 1999

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