Rocks in My Pockets

Signe Baumane

USA, Latvia, 2014 / 88 min / English with french subt. / Animation

A crazy quest for sanity

The film is based on true events involving the women of my family, including myself, and our battles with madness. It raises questions of how much family genetics determine who we are and if it is possible to outsmart one’s own DNA. The film is packed with visual metaphors, surreal images and my twisted sense of humor. It is an animated tale full of art, women, strange daring stories, Latvian accents, history, nature, adventure and more. (Signe Baumane)

Like most families, Baumane’s has its share of skeletons in the closet, secrets and disappointments hidden from outsiders and, indeed, from other family members. But her problems with depression impel her to investigate more thoroughly […] the DNA she inherited. (Vancouver Film Festival 2014)

Mon 02/03 21:00 Cinémathèque Public
Thu 05/03 21:00 Ciné Utopia Public

Boasting a narrative of extraordinary complexity and density, stuffed with irony, humor and tales-within-tales, the imaginative animated memoir “Rocks in My Pockets” merges a mini-history of 20th-century Latvia with that of helmer Signe Baumane and her forebears. Along the way, it provides a fascinating and very personal look at mental illness, as well as familial and societal dictates and dynamics.
(Alissa Simon,, July 11, 2014)

With ‘Rocks In My Pockets,’ Signe Baumane presents a sharp, surprising and funny animated feature, plumbing the depths of depression via her family history. Guided by Ms. Baumane’s almost musically accented voice-over, this hand-drawn debut feature is based upon the mental struggles of her Latvian grandmother and other relatives. It’s told with remorseless psychological intelligence, wicked irony and an acerbic sense of humor.
(Nicholas Rapold, New York Times, September 2, 2014)

The mind of the filmmaker and my own mind seemed to intertwine as she told her family story in a slightly offbeat manner. Puzzled by the story rather than just curious, I could not stop listening to the tale as it unfolded. It took me many places I had not visited before and in the end brought me to a place of positive understanding for those whose depressions lead them into dark woods.
(Sidney Levine, Sydney’s Buzz, Indiewire, August 16, 2014)

  • Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Fipresci International Film Critics Award
  • Latvia’s entry for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, 2015 (USA)
Cast & Credits
Signe Baumane
Signe Baumane
Signe Baumane
Kristian Sensini
Rocks in My Pockets, Locomotive Productions
Signe Baumane

Signe Baumane was born in 1964 in Latvia. She graduated from Moscow University with a B.A. in Philosophy and in 1989 started work in Riga as an animator and cel painter. She directed several animated shorts before moving to New York in 1995 where she began to work for Bill Plympton while continuing to direct her own films. From 2000 to 2002 she taught animation at Pratt Institute. Besides doing animation, Signe Baumane works as an illustrator for children's books.

  • Rocks in My Pockets, 2014
  • Birth, 2009
  • Veterinarian, 2007
  • The Very First Desire Now and Forever, 2007
  • Teat Beat of Sex (series of short films, série cm), 2007
  • Dentist (short, cm), 2005
  • Woman (short, cm), 2002
  • Five Fucking Fables (short, cm), 2002
  • Natasha (short, cm), 2000
  • The Threatened One (short, cm), 1999
  • Love Story (short, cm), 1998
  • The Gold of the Tigers (short, cm), 1994
  • Tiny Shoes (short, cm), 1995
  • The Witch and the Cow (short, cm), 1991