“Rocks” launches the 33rd European Film Festival

(Photo: Handout from European Film Festival)
AMMAN — The 33rd edition of the European Film Festival in Jordan was launched yesterday with the screening of “Rocks” a film following a 16-year-old girl growing up in the city of Dalston, and how her world turns upside down when she returns from school to find her mum gone.اضافة اعلان

This teenage British drama exposes the unfairness embedded in communities that Rocks, the main character and movie namesake, lives in. It explores themes of resilience and the spirit of girlhood.

(Photo: Handout from European Film Festival)

At school, Rocks and her friends are equals; outside the gates, the discrepancies in class and background, and aspiration become evident.

At the end of the summer holidays, her widowed mother begins suffering from mental health problems and leaves home, leaving a bit of cash and a note saying that she needs "to clear my head,” leaving Rocks to take care of her little brother Emmanuel and to navigate the fear of social services getting involved.

With her grandma back home in Lagos, she is left to rely on her friends to help her dodge adult interference. Balancing her schoolwork, Emmanuel’s concerns, and keeping food on the table proves to be tricky. Circumnavigating rivalries and loyalties among her friends adds to Rocks’ challenges.

As each day becomes tougher and her secret becomes harder to hide, Rocks starts to push away those who love her and her friendship group begins to fracture.

When the authorities finally catch up with her, there is only one source of support for her to turn to, her friends.

Rocks plays a maternal role and attempts to look after herself and Emmanuel, shuttling between friends' houses and cheap hotels while keeping up appearances of a relatively normal life. 

In a heartwarming sequence, Rocks and her girlfriends, most notably Sumaya (Kosar Ali), pool all their pocket money to visit the seaside town where Emmanuel now has a new foster home.

Rocks’ piercing realization that the price of happiness sometimes requires letting someone you love dearly go is wonderfully portrayed throughout the movie.

Rocks is, in many ways, a typical teenage girl. Aside from the fact that her mother, who has struggled for years with her mental health, has willingly left.

The rough edges, the real locations, and the characters chosen to represent the real streets allow the film to come alive.

(Photo: Handout from European Film Festival)

The vibrant portrayals in the movie infuse the audience with the experience of stepping into that world, smelling and sensing everything that these friends are experiencing as they navigate the unique complexities of life.

The film exposes a multitude of the complexities about these teenagers’ lives, from their battles to survive, to the exuberance of a classroom food fight, to the simplicity of dancing on a rooftop, or in a train carriage.

“Rocks” was written by the up-and-coming Nigerian-British playwright/screenwriter Theresa Ikoko and the film and TV writer Claire Wilson, and directed by Sarah Gavron, director of Brick Lane (2007) and Suffragette (2015.)

Rocks is a female-led movie with no major male figures, that is one of the many things that makes “Rocks” stand out. It is a film focused on the intricacies of female friendships that, while tremendous fun, are challenging.

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