The first scene, like almost all others, is a fighting scene. A girl, about 18, is sacked from her factory work because her trial period is over. The girl, Rosetta, is quite upset and the cops will have to arrive to get her out. She has her reasons: she lives in a caravan, with her alcoholic mother. She goes looking for work as some go to the war. Treasons, murders are in her mind, if not in her acts. —Gregoire Dubost


Luc Dardenne


Bernard Marbaix
as le gardien du camping
Frédéric Bodson
as The Head of Personnel
Florian Delain
as The Boss's Son

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by jboothmillard 5 /10


This French-Belgian film is one that used to feature in a version of the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, I was prepared to see it and hoping for a good one, directed by brothers Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne (The Kid with a Bike). Basically twenty- seven-year-old Rosetta (Émilie Dequenne) has lost her probationary employment, and following a violent confrontation, she returns home to trailer park "The Grand Canyon", shared with her alcoholic Mother (Anne Yernaux). Unable to receive unemployment pay and desperate for work, Rosetta goes around asking about vacancies in various places, then she happens upon a waffle stand, after an enquiry she makes friends with worker Riquet (Fabrizio Rongione), she is experiencing period cramps. Rosetta is startled when Riquet makes an unexpected visit to the trailer park, he informs her there is a job available, as a worker was fired, she is also encouraged to tell her mother, who is promiscuous due to alcoholism, to seek a rehabilitation clinic, but the mother is in denial and runs away. Rosetta spends the night with Riquet, and tries to convince herself that her life has started to function normally, but after three days at work she is replaced by The Boss (Olivier Gourmet), this turns into another violent confrontation, but she calms down when he tells her he will call if an opportunity is available. Rosetta starts looking for employment again, and keeps Riquet company during work, she later saves him from drowning, but she also finds out he has been selling his own waffles elsewhere, Rosetta contemplates what to do, but tells the owner, she watches as Riquet is thrown out of the stand. Riquet is betrayed and hurt, he chases Rosetta on his moped, he eventually catches up to her and demands to know why she did what she did, she states she wanted a job, and had no intention of saving him from the water. Rosetta is rehired on the waffle stand, she encounters Riquet again, as a customer, returning home she finds her mother barely conscious and inebriated, she calls her boss to tell him she will not be working the next day. Later Rosetta is forced to get a new gas canister, Riquet shows up on his moped and circles her, she collapses to the ground and cries, Riquet helps her up, Rosetta turns around to gaze at him as she slowly regains her composure. Also starring Bernard Marbaix as The Campgrounds Manager, Frédéric Bodson as The Head of Personnel and Florian Delain as The Boss's Son. The debuting Dequenne gives a great performance as the troubled teenager desperate for a job for self-esteem as much as pay, it is a difficult and gruelling watch most of the time, with a soul-destroying routine for the leading character, but it is a good view of social realism, an affective drama. Worth watching!

Reviewed by dbdumonteil N/A

Le fabuleux destin de Rosetta.

Simply,"Rosetta" is the best fin de decade European movie.I have to search my memories to find something vaguely recalling Dardenne's work:maybe Robert Bresson's "Mouchette" or Kenneth Loach's darkest hour.

French cinema generally does not like those who have been left out of economic growth.Rosetta and the boy are on the wrong side of town.She lives in a seedy trailer with her alcoholic mother who's always ready to sleep with the first to come if he provides her with a bottle.She refuses charity,she claims dignity and dignity means work.To get a job ,Rosetta would do anything.Desperate,she tries to steal the boy's one:he sells waffles in a van.When he nearly gets drowned,she is tempted to abandon him to his fate!Later she becomes an informer and exposes his little swindles to his boss.

Dardenne does not judge.He knows we are able to understand that,in this world,conventional moral has got no sense.Besides ,Rosetta confesses to the bewildered boy she wishes he had sunk.The form is absolutely stunning and fits the content like a glove:close shots,at best medium,but no panoramics at all,a tight editing:the director does not want us to take pity on this place where human beings feed themselves with waffles , hard-boiled eggs,or French bread (luxury),where they carry heavy gas bottles without even a wheelbarrow,where they fish in the river to get something to eat without even a fishing rod.Actually we know nothing about Rosetta but her first name.She is the embodiment of poverty as Victor Hugo's Cosette was in "les misérables" during the nineteenth century(the two names almost sound the same).

"Rosetta" is the cries of the oppressed.A disturbing overwhelming movie.

Reviewed by writers_reign N/A

Rosetta Stone

This is one that reels you in slowly. There's no wasted exposition. Like Clifford Odets 'Rocket To The Moon' we open right in the middle of a violent argument. The eponymous heroine is being fired and not taking it lying down. She feels she has a genuine beef but we never learn the real truth. What we DO learn is that Rosetta is, in all except name, a metaphor for the forgotten segment of large industrial societies. I can't speak for Belgium but in England there are thousands of teenagers of both sexes not only without work but not Interested in work so Rosetta, in her zealous, single-minded pursuit of even a menial job is almost too good to be true. The dramatic cards are stacked artfully against her, alcoholic mother, no father, not even a MENTION of a father, primitive home in a caravan park and, most unusual of all, not a SINGLE friend. The hand-held camera is content merely to follow her for long stretches of time punctuated by her enemies for in Rosetta's case every encounter is a battle. It remains an extraordinary chronicle with an extraordinary central performance.

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