In this austere and tightly focused follow-up to their excellent La Promesse (1996), Belgian filmmakers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne dramatize the depressing story of a 17-year-old girl living in a trailer park at the outskirts of a Belgian town. Rosetta (Emilie Dequenne) looks after her weak mother (Anne Yernaux), an alcoholic who regularly has sex with the trailer park's janitor. She scavenges for food, sells off clothing, and is obsessed with finding a steady job. Thanks to Riquet (Fabrizio Rongione), who works at a street waffle stand, she is hired at a bakery.
Rosetta won the highly coveted Palme d' Or at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival. The drama vividly conveys the stunted emotional and spiritual life of a teenager who has no time for anything except the struggle to survive. Without any community, either relatives or friends, she lacks the social skills to relate to others. That is why she is capable of betraying the one person who makes an honest attempt to befriend her. Similar in spirit to La Promesse this ethically-charged Belgian film offers no sentimental finale. Only Rosetta's long-repressed tears.