London Film Festival 2012 – day four: Ginger and Rosa
Monday 15th October, 7.30pm – Film in Focus at BFI Library
Best friends Ginger and Rosa, born on adjacent beds as the war ended, grew up like unmatched peas in a pod. Director Sally Potter deftly fills in their early teen giggle-fests and experimenting with boys and clothes.
This is the very early 60s. The 60s, which is really the end of the 50s, still in a post-war hangover – pre-The Beatles, the sexual revolution and what will become the women’s lib movement. The threat of the atom bomb hangs over a generation, and acts as a very real fear about the changing future.
Growing up is always something of a ruination of childhood, and a series of disillusions about men, sex, parents and the world. The film focusses more on Ginger, played with the riveting assurance of a young Kate Winslet by Elle Fanning.
Ginger is still a bit starry eyed about her father, who uses his revolutionary ideals and belief in self-expression to act like a bit of a s**t when it comes to women. Rosa is a darker character, more troubled and damaged. Friendship is tested as life intervenes and Rosa seems about to fall for the oldest trick in the book, seeing hidden depths in a man and thinking she can save him.
The atmosphere and authenticity of the time gives everything a slightly muted palette, and the social upheavals about to come are embodied in various supporting cast. Christina Hendricks as Ginger’s mother is stuck in a housewife dilemma, events just about to open her world. Gay couple Mark and Mark II played by Timothy Spall and Oliver Platt are family friends who have known Ginger since she was a baby, and support her as she becomes involved in the beginnings of the CND movement. Annette Benning is the plain speaking activist who takes no nonsense from Ginger’s father, who, played by Alessandro Nivola, has the sort of intellectual self-centred arrogance which twists others in knots.
A great ensemble cast perfectly plays out a pivotal time of change. Another star of the film is the girls’ hair. As they grow up, their long hair subtly morphs from straggly schoolgirl to prototype 1960s.
Read more reviews from the 56th London Film Festival here.
Watch the trailer for Ginger and Rosa here: