Rocks in My Pockets
Film Review by Kam Williams
Dysfunctional Latvian Family Serves as Fodder for Gallows Humor about Suicide
Signe Baumane hails from a dysfunctional Latvian family whose females have historically been haunted by suicidal thoughts and bouts of depression to a disturbing degree. Signe traces the inherited predisposition back to her grandmother who tried to drown herself in a river in Riga but failed because she forgot to put rocks in her pockets.
Intriguingly illustrated courtesy of an arresting mix of drawings and paper mache, the production is basically a captivating group portrait of weird women, each with a definite death wish
“Her body had a stronger will to live than her mind had a will to die,” Signe reflects about one relative’s unsuccessful attempt on her own life. Later, during a lesson on the etiquette of hanging oneself, the director suggests donning a pair of adult diapers because you‘ll otherwise poop and pee in your pants and leave a heck of a mess for loved ones to clean up.
Such gallows humor is par for the course in this relentlessly-dark comedy, and this offbeat departure into depravity is engaging enough, provided you’re in the mood to look at the lighter side of suicide. At least the story ends on a high note, namely, with Signe expressing gratitude to her mother for forcing her to socialize instead of just sitting around the house and listening to the self-destructive voices inside her head.
Who knew that hara-kiri was such a hilarious subject?
Very Good (2.5 stars)
Running time: 89 minutes
Distributor: Zeitgeist Films