The British Independent Film Awards have awarded five honours to a film that stars unknown east London schoolgirls in the majority of its principal parts. Rocks took up the award for best British indie film, while Kosar Ali, 17, was voted best supporting actress and most promising newcomer. When it first came out last year, Rocks received rave reviews, and it is now available on Netflix. D’Angelou Osei Kissiedu, who portrayed little brother Emmanuel when he was seven, was one of the other winners.
He was chosen best supporting actor, despite the fact that he is seven decades younger than the winner of the best actor prize, Sir Anthony Hopkins, 83, who was honoured for his portrayal of a man suffering from dementia in The Father.
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What is Special About the Movie?
At the 35th Goya Awards, the film won Best Film, Best New Director, and Best Original Screenplay for Palomero, as well as Best Cinematography for Daniela Cajas, out of a total of nine nominations. Cajas was the first woman to receive the Goya Award for Cinematography. From a total of six nominations, the film won Best Drama Film, Best Director, and Best Screenplay at the 8th Feroz Awards.
Rocks, according to producer Ameenah Ayub Allen, is a celebration of female filmmaking. “We were working on a project with a strong independent attitude. It used an approach that was really autonomous “she stated
“We always believed the picture was imbued with the spirit of a teenage girl when we were filming, and it’s simply wonderful that it’s come here and that the spirit of a teenage girl has won best film, with a completely different method of filmmaking, with all these incredible women,” says the director.
Bukky Bakray, who portrays the main role and is 18 years old, has been nominated for best actress. Wunmi Mosaku won this prize for her refugee horror film His House, which received four nominations in total. The Father took home three awards, while Saint Maud, a psychological horror film, took home two.
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What’s There in the movie?
Apart from being set a year earlier, Schoolgirls has a lot in common with Summer 1993. Scenes that feel like carefully reconstructed screenwriter memories play out with a quasi-documentary spontaneity and freshness, just as they did in the previous film; the scenes showing only children (apparently given no script) are quickly the most remarkable, with one in specific moving believably from joy to disaster in just a few entirely compelling minutes.
The acts of these young performers are fantastic on their own, but it’s the interaction between them that works best, and some of the looks that these dark-eyed girls exchange are so rich that they’re mini-movies in and of themselves.
The social context is equally important, as it was in 1993. The writing is acute enough to catch up on the fact that young girls are singing rollicking sailor songs on the playground, for example, that represent none of their own experiences while promoting sexist attitudes. Celia inquires, “How do we know that God exists?” Her mother responds, “Just because,” while the girls’ conservative approach to sex at school contrasts with the liberal ideas in the teen mags they begin to read.
Spain was still a long way from shedding the Francoist heritage in 1992, and the country’s battle for the souls of these children sometimes feels like child abuse.
All of this is to say that the political tract about Schoolgirls, which is firmly rooted in the persuasive facts of what must undoubtedly be Palomero’s personal experiences, is mostly absent. Meanwhile, the narrative of Celia’s hunt for the (rumoured to be unpleasant) truth about her father plays out in the background: When the reveal occurs, it is handled in an unusually unclear manner for this film, leaving some viewers perplexed.
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Daniela Cajas’ camerawork is appropriate for the school scenes and at home, but livelier and more fluid elsewhere, when things are more free. The 4:3 aspect ratio is chosen, which is ideal for framing those youthful faces as they continue to register the shock of their odd new environment.