on November 05, 1999 by Ed Scheid
   Following their critically acclaimed 1997 film "The Promise," scripters/directors Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne return with this compelling drama, which won the Belgian brothers Cannes' top prize, the Palme d'Or.
   For Rosetta (Emilie Dequenne), life is a constant physical and emotional struggle. She has just lost her job for being late and has to be dragged out of the building. Rosetta lives in a trailer camp where she has a volatile relationship with her alcoholic mother (Anne Yernaux). She is desperate for any kind of work so that she can earn a living and be independent. Though unable to afford food, her pride forces her to refuse charity. The only person to befriend her is Riquet (Fabrizio Rongione), who sells waffles. Rosetta is determined to let nothing stand in the way of her getting a regular job and a normal life.
   The Dardenne brothers have given the film a raw and gritty look that appropriately reflects the emotional state of their central character. They move the camera into the center of the action to give their film a documentary-like realism, and shooting at actual locations adds to the effect. The filmmakers show Rosetta only from the outside. Neither her motivation nor her past is explained.
   Dequenne, who tied for the Best Actress award at Cannes, gives a strong performance of wild energy and angry forcefulness that carries the film. Though Rosetta is sometimes unsympathetic, the intensity of her struggle becomes a poignant film experience.    Starring Emilie Dequenne, Fabrizio Rongione and Anne Yernaux. Directed and written by Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne. Produced by Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Michele and Laurent Petin. No distributor set. Drama. French-language; subtitled. Not yet rated. Running time: 94 min.
Tags: tarring Emilie Dequenne, Fabrizio Rongione, Anne Yernaux. Directed and written by Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne. Produced by Luc, Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Michele, Laurent Petin, Drama

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