Festival de Cannes 70: Rosetta, 1999

A sunny shout-out to 70 winners at the Cannes Film Festival to celebrate the 70th event which is just around the corner – in no particular order.

Overwhelmingly accepting the Best Actress prize at Cannes in 1999, Émilie Dequenne is a simply perfect gem as the title character Rosetta. The seventeen year-old, who lives in a caravan with her wilting mother, is self-sufficient, determined, and somewhat uncompromising – she squabbles with most people she encounters at some point. Nobody gets in her way. The seemingly always on the move Rosetta, often running, appears to be in every frame of the movie, where the social hardship magicians Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne get right in her personal space or peer at her around corners. It’s the type of raw, candid, but utterly effective film-making that makes you wonder about how such a portrayal of reality can be so compelling. At times, and we are certainly not forced, we simply watch Rosetta briskly walk back and forth, going about her daily tasks, boiling an egg and then cracking the shell on her own head as naturally as she would fasten closed a padlock. The movie’s ultimate impact is far greater than any words here used to try and describe it.

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