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Director Auberi Edler
Writers Auberi Edler and Serge July
Image Christophe Brunet
Sound Kamel Founas
Editing Patrick Zouzout
Length 52 Mins
Format 16/9
Versions French and English
Copyrights Folamour – ARTE France – 2015
Broadcaster ARTE

Protagonists :

  • Jean-Pierre DARDENNE, director
  • Luc DARDENNE, director
  • Emilie DEQUENNE, actress
  • Olivier GOURMET, actor
  • Fabrizio RONGIONE, actor
  • Alain MARCOEN, director of photography
  • Igor GABRIEL, head decorator
  • Laurette ONKELINX, Belgian Employment Minister and initiator of the “Rosetta Plan”
  • Ken LOACH, filmmaker
  • Benoît DERVAUX, cameramann
  • Jean FANIEL, political scientist

Once upon a time… Rosetta is the thirty-eighth documentary film in the “A Film and its Era” collection. It retraces the genesis, the shooting and the unexpected success of Rosetta, a film by Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. Awarded the Palme d’Or in 1999, Rosetta tells the daily struggle of a young girl, played by Emilie Dequenne, who lives in a trailer with her alcoholic and distressed mother and who struggles from job to job. She only dreams of a normal life.

The shame of unemployment and the threat of misery are the focus of Rosetta. Once upon a time… Rosetta tells the story of how the Dardenne brothers, originally from an industrial town near Liège, became filmmakers who remained deeply attached to the working class towns of the region. Defending an independent and radical cinema, the brothers are uncompromising down to the smallest detail. Their obsession with reality dominates their entire cinema.

This documentary, directed by Auberi Edler, uses interviews and archive footage to put the Dardenne brothers’ film back into the context of its time. This was a period that, despite the struggles and hopes, marked the inexorable decline of the region’s steel industry. When it came out, the impact of Rosetta in Belgium was such that, at the instigation of the Socialist minister Laurette Onkelinx, the “First Employment Convention” was renamed the “Rosetta Plan”. Rosetta will be a double revelation for the general public, that of two directors and that of an actress, Emilie Dequenne, who was 17 years old at the time, all three celebrated at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival.