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.
That aborted attempt explains the title of this animated misadventure written, directed and narrated by Ms. Baumane in her heavy Latvian accent.
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