On the final day of the Cannes Film Festival,Rosetta stepped up to the screen and won the highest prize. Not only that, but the first-time 18-year-old actress in the title role, Emilie Dequenne, received the Best Actress award.
Rosetta is the second film by Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, and follows the young woman as she struggles to survive in a dead-end trailer park with an alcoholic mother, shifting from job to job and fighting with all her impassioned might for any stability. The hand-held camera is relentless about Rosette—it imparts existential claustrophobia by following her without cease. There is little dialogue, it is cold and grey and arty.
European films have long manifested class consciousness that their American cousins can only dream about, and Rosetta is no exception. Hardly political (Rosetta has no time for politics), the Dardennes choose to focus on the conditions of sheer survival from the vantage of a strong girl with severely limited options.