Rocks in My Pockets: A sinking feeling that is quite uplifting
by Laurence Boyce
- After garnering a well-respected reputation in the animation world for her short films, Signe Baumane makes her feature debut with a film receiving its world premiere at Karlovy Vary
With a heavy emphasis on the sexual and the scatological, the animations of Signe Baumane have always veered between the provocative and the intimately honest. Rocks in My Pockets [+see also:
interview: Signe Baumane
film profile] continues the themes prevalent in her shorts, with Baumane presenting a fiercely personal exploration of her own depression and her attempts to find its roots.
Baumane (who provides the film’s narration) explores her family history to discover that countless siblings, cousins and ancestors have been affected by the disease of depression. From her grandmother’s story, a woman who grew up when Latvia was under the yoke of the Soviet Union, she discovers a family touched by tragedy, yet too stoic to talk about it. As she learns more and more about her past, she begins to understand herself better and gets ready to look to the future.
A mixture of animation styles – from Baumane’s trademark style that evokes an air of the childlike mixed with the vaguely grotesque, to 3D model work – is complemented by her compelling story and journey of discovery. Some quarters may accuse Baumane of self-indulgence, but there’s an honesty and earnestness at play in the movie that negate any cynical connotations in the film. Indeed, for all its adult themes and images (though it is rather chaste when compared to the rest of her work), Rocks in My Pockets is an incredibly sweet and touching film at heart.
Animation features outside the usual Disney and Dreamworks stables usually prove to be a draw for arthouse distributors, and one would not be surprised if many started fighting to try to snap this one up. And given the goodwill that Baumane has already built up over the years on the festival circuit, a long run at specialist and general festivals looks assured.