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An average movie

Posted : 5 years ago on 16 February 2015 10:57

By now, I have seen most of the movies directed by the Dardenne Brothers and I have been a big fan of their work for a very long time but, to be honest, it wasn't really love at first sight with them. In the mid-90’s, they finally broke through the international scene with this movie. Indeed, it was a big critical success, they even won the prestigious Golden Palm at the Cannes film festival so I had some rather high expectations. Unfortunately, even though I thought it was a decent feature, I can’t say I was really blown away by the whole thing though. I mean, sure, Émilie Dequenne who was just about 18 years old, was quite impressive and there is no denying that their clinical, almost neo-realist directing style was quite effective. And yet, the whole thing was just so dreary, so gloomy, as a result, I had a really hard time to connect with the main character and what she was going through. I mean, it is not that it was depressing, it was more that it was, well, a little bit boring. On the other hand, 10 years later, Jennifer Lawrence would have her breakthrough with a very similar movie called ‘Winter’s Bone’ and the biggest issue with this movie is that the story was really far-fetched. Anyway, to conclude, even though I thought it was rather disappointing, it was a still an intriguing drama and it is definitely worth a look, especially if you like the genre.

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Rosetta review

Posted : 5 years, 6 months ago on 20 August 2014 04:39

“The heart that is low now will be at the full tomorrow” (R.S.Thomas)

The award of the 1999 Cannes Palme d’Or to Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne’s “Rosetta” met with general surprise and confusion. Screened at the very end of competition, the film had slipped through a crowd of acclaimed rivals, unheralded and largely unnoticed.

Reminiscent of Bresson’s “Mouchette”, it concerns a teenage loner who lives in a run-down Belgian trailer park with an alcoholic mother, battles desperately to find work and is obliged to draw on her own resources to survive – emotionally and physically – a tough, bleak life.

In “Rosetta” the hand-held camera clings to the central character like an umbilical cord. Yet such is the film’s rigorous authenticity and power that it breaks free of its constraints and soars.

This achievement owes much to the director’s searching unsentimental honesty but more still to an outstanding, intensely concentrated performance from young Emilie Dequenne. Inhabiting her character in her breathing, her posture, in every minutest detail, Dequenne simply is Rosetta. Vulnerable, burdened and suspicious, but fiercely, at times ferociously, determined, she is a seemingly indomitable warrior with no trace of self-pity, charged with an extraordinary feral force.

From its dramatic expressive opening, in which Rosetta’s walk conveys a world of meaning, the film is endowed with scenes of memorable impact, most notably the near-drownings and the tender, reassuring repetitions with which Rosetta sends herself to sleep.

“Rosetta” might even be said to justify Godard’s famous statement that film is the truth twenty four times a second, and never more so than in its final moment. Mercilessly hounded by a young man whose friendship she had betrayed, Rosetta at last crumples in tearful, defeated exhaustion. By resolutely continuing to focus not on his reaction but on the girl herself, the Dardennes capture an expression which conveys a wonderful sense of compassion, acceptance and hope.

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