The Belgian filmmaking team of brothers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne turned heads with Rosetta, an intense vérité drama that closely follows a poor young woman struggling to hold on to a job to support herself and her alcoholic mother. It’s a swift and simple tale made revelatory by the raw, empathetic way in which the directors render Rosetta’s desperation, keeping the camera nearly perched on her shoulder throughout. Many have copied the Dardennes’ style; few have equaled it. This ferocious film won big at Cannes, earning the Palme d’Or for the filmmakers and the best actress prize for the indomitable Émilie Dequenne. –The Criterion Collection
After studying drama in the arts institute, Jean Pierre Dardenne and his brother Luc made some videos about the rough life in blue-collar small towns in the Wallonie. After their meeting with filmmaker Armad Gatti and cinematographer Ned Burgess, they decided to enter in the movie business.
In 1978 they shot their first documentary, Le chant du rossignol, about the resistance against the Nazis during the second world war in Belgium. In 1986 they shot their first fiction movie, Falsch, about a Jewish family massacred by the Nazis. After their second movie, Je pense a vous, they released La Promesse, a movie about inmigration in Belgium. The film was a success worldwide winning awards in many festivals.
In 1999 they had another hit with Rosetta, that won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Festival. The movie tells the story of a blue collar worker with an alcoholic mother who tries to have a better life in a small belgium city.
In 2002, they came back to Cannes with their… read more
Characterizing themselves as “one person with four eyes,” Belgian filmmaker Luc Dardenne and his older brother Jean-Pierre rose to the forefront of international art cinema in the 1990s with such uncompromising, socially aware dramas as La Promesse (1996) and Rosetta (1999), depicting life in Belgium’s depressed industrial region near Liège on the Meuse River.
Born in Awirs, Dardenne grew up in a middle-class family in the working-class steel town Seraing. With schools closed during strikes, Dardenne was exposed to the upheavals of the 1960s labor movement during his formative years. While still in school, Dardenne frequently visited his older sibling in Brussels, where Jean-Pierre was studying acting under playwright Armand Gatti. Gatti, who often used nonprofessional actors, invited Luc to join his acting troupe. Though he got his degree in philosophy in the early ’70s, Luc was inspired by his time with Gatti to explore the creative and political possibilities of film and video… read more
A very compelling character study. This is my 2nd Dardenne bros film and I gotta say I'm very impressed! I love their general realistic style and their shooting style is just incredible. The acting in this is amazing, and the ending packs a huge punch. Perhaps not as emotionally moved as I was by Le Promesse but that doesn't mean that isn't still incredibly moving! 5 stars! Can't wait to see more by them!
Rosetta doesn't offer the kind of cinematic experience I'm used to: you know, the traditional shot variations, score, and scripted feel. But I can't say that it's not valid, that its characters weren't compelling. I am accepting it for what it is and am, actually, more compelled to dive into the Dardenne's work. They seem to have found a rhythm all their own, with a realism that, to me, surpasses that of mumblecore.
The comparison to mumblecore is strange. Mumblecore films are typically about aimless, upper class youths, reflections of themselves, as it were. While the Dardennes focus almost exclusively upon the underclass in their society, reflections of their people. Who's to say either is real or unreal?
“Rosetta”, directing by the Dardenne Brothers, is one of a kind. The shaky camera and close-ups make the experience feel all so real.
Emilie Dequenne’s performance as Rosetta is remarkable… read review