I'm Not Scared (Italy/Spain/UK ; 108 min.)


directed by: Gabriele Salvatore
starring: Aitana Sánchez-Gijón; Dino Abbrescia; Giorgio Careccia
Io Non Ho Paur
 
Bruce says: "My memories of Gabriele Salvatore’s MEDITERRANEO are hazy but my feelings about it remain perfectly clear. I wasn’t wild about it. It felt glossy and superficial. While Salvatore’s I'M NOT SCARED is an improvement, I’m still not a big fan.

"Five children are hanging out together in the summer of 1978 at the time children of rich families and CEO’s of big Italian corporations were being kidnapped. As they ride their bicycles across the fields they stumble upon an abandon house. Michele (Guiseppe Cristiano) lags behind to search for his sister’s glasses while the others ride off. As he finds them he discovers a camouflaged door which covers a hole. In the hole is a big sack with a foot sticking out. On his next trip to the abandoned house, he sees the rest of the figure who turns out to be Filippo, a kidnapped child exactly his same age. After several encounters involving delivery of water and bread, Michele wins Filippo’s trust .

"Michele is only ten and there are lots of things he doesn’t know about the world. However, his strong instincts and immense curiosity place him far above his chronological age. What he can’t figure out on his own about the kidnapping he ferrets out in other ways, through eavesdropping and bold confrontation. An abundance of information places Michele in the driver’s seat when it comes to creating the action and moving the plot along. He drives with expertise.

"Guiseppe Cristiano is one of the strongest child actors I’ve seen in some time. He has immense control and a wide emotional range. His acting skills carry the film. Most all the other actors struggle with a poorly written script and never make the characters believable. For example, Anna, Michele’s mother (Aitana Sanches-Gijon) is wildly inconsistent in how she treats her children. None of her actions seem based on feelings a mother should have; she follows words in the script. Pino, Michele’s father (Dino Abbrescia) similarly follows the script and adds little else to develop his character. Some of the children weren’t very good. Fillipo looked more inspired by Truffaut’s Wild Child than a rich Italian kid in need of sustenance.

"Cinematographer Italo Petriccione shares the spotlight with Guiseppe Cristiono. The countryside, particularly the wheat fields where the children play hide and seek and make patterns as they fall down, ride their bicycles and roll downhill, is breathtakingly filmed. Petriccione captures the essence of the tiny rural village where most everyone lives, the surrounding area and the abandon house. Comparison's to DAYS OF HEAVEN are well deserved.

"Although I’M NOT SCARED is billed as a thriller, I found it remarkably predictable. It was suspenseful at times - the type of suspense which involves the timing of something you know will happen, not the type of suspense where you wonder what will come next. 2.5 cats"

 

Johanna says: "I saw this film in Montreal. I thought it was great - the colors and large skies were beautiful and the suspense (which has been given away in the reviews I
have read - don't read them before the film!) made me feel a bit queasy. This is from the Montreal catalog:

"A tiny hamlet of four houses in southern Italy in the summer of 1978. Under a blazing sun in a clear blue sky, cornfields strech out as far as the eye can see. This is the hottest summer of the century. Nothing stirs. The only sound for miles is that of the crickets. THe few sdults who live in this desolate place have retreated inside their houses to escape the killing heat. The only humans wiling to venture out in the midday are the hamlets half-dozen children, who tear around the village on their bicycles looking for adventure and generally not finding it. Until one day they do find it.... larger and far more dangerous than they could have imagined. Far beyond the cornfields, near an abandoned farmhouse, they stumble across a terrible crime. When nine-year old Michele discovers it, he is forced by circmstances to keep his discovery to himself. Eventually the other kids are let in on the secret but the adults are not informed. Butthis is a very small place and secrets - especially of this nature - cannot be kept for long."