'Ginger & Rosa': Life And Times In Cold War London | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

'Ginger & Rosa': Life And Times In Cold War London

Play associated audio

Two young actresses with substantial Hollywood pedigrees have the title roles in the new film Ginger & Rosa. Ginger is played by Dakota Fanning's 13-year-old sister, Elle, who already has more than 30 movie credits. Rosa is played by Alice Englert, daughter of Oscar-winning writer-director Jane Campion and star of last month's Beautiful Creatures. Both actresses get a chance to stretch in Ginger & Rosa.

The film starts with an atomic blast — Hiroshima in 1945 — accompanied by shrieks half a world away as two women in a British maternity ward give birth. Their little girls, Ginger and Rosa, will be inseparable by the time we catch up with them a decade and a half later: young teens in a London that has yet to discover the Beatles — ironing each other's hair, dissolving in giggles while practicing how to kiss, and playing patty-cake like the children they still are ... just barely. Children who are starting to register the larger world around them, and fretting at the beach about Cold War nuclear-risk reports they're hearing on the radio.

But although these two are close, they're beginning to grow apart. Fanning's flame-haired Ginger is following the lead of her activist father. Englert's darker Rosa is following her instincts — especially when it comes to guys.

The hormones driving these two and the tumult driving '60s social change are somehow exactly in sync in director Sally Potter's telling. When Cold War constraints meet the sexual revolution, the constraints haven't got a chance — a fact that will come to separate these girls from each other, and also from their parents.

Mothers left behind in kitchens as traditions change, fathers who betray families either with a wandering eye or simply by wandering off. Small wonder Ginger and Rosa seek comfort where they can — Rosa in the arms of an inappropriate partner, Ginger with political allies who know her grief is personal, even though she's expressing it in broader terms.

The director has steeped the film in '60s jazz, shot it through with earthy color, and filled it with ideas that are just out of its heroines' reach — the realization, say, that there can be a distance between goodness and good thoughts, passions and passionate beliefs.

A hard lesson to learn, and equally hard to dramatize — but Potter manages in Ginger & Rosa, an intriguingly complex portrait of both of its characters and of the time of flux they live in.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Living Small In The City: With More Singles, Micro-Housing Gets Big

Single people represent the fastest growing category of households in the U.S. That's made small dwellings — from micro-apartments to stand-alone tiny houses, a niche force in the real estate market.
NPR

Don't Be Fooled By The Fishy Ingredients: This Burger Is Delicious

Chef Marcus Samuelsson has a ritual whenever he travels to a new place — ask the cabdriver, "Where do you eat?" When he did that on a trip to Barbados, he fell in love with a fish sandwich.
WAMU 88.5

Hogan Refutes Claims That His Charter-School Bill Is A Union Buster

More than half of the state's 47 charter schools are located in Baltimore, and Hogan believes making it easier for more to open there — and elsewhere in Maryland — would help close the widening achievement gap between white students and students of color.
NPR

FCC Votes Along Party Lines For 'Net Neutrality'

The new rules, if approved, would require service providers to be a neutral gateway to the Internet, instead of handling different types of traffic in different ways — and at different costs.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.