Published May 01, 2004The opening scene of Oscar Award-winning director Gabriele Salvatores' latest film perfectly sets the stage for this heart-breaking tale. Create a picture of a never-ending sky bordered by the most golden of fields and you have only imagined half of the visuals involved in the film.
The plot of I'm Not Scared is difficult to describe without revealing too much (in The Waiting Game spoiler style). Ten-year-old Michele (Giuseppe Cristiano) tries to escape the debilitating summer heat wave of 1978 by playing with his friends and riding his bike in the wheat fields surrounding his perfect Southern Italian village. But Michele's simplistic play uncovers something, or more specifically, someone, within a dark and dingy bunker at an abandoned farmhouse, which robs the lad of his innocence forever.
Based on the acclaimed novel by Niccolo Ammaniti, I'm Not Scared is a stirring tale of the honest simplicity of childhood friendships, the behaviour-bending immorality of poverty and the unearthing of the fallibility of the adults that make up one's list of role models. The beautiful script, penned by Ammaniti and Francesca Marciano, is coupled with stark and stunning cinematography (courtesy of Italo Petriccione). Because the story is told from Michele's perspective, the film's young star expertly carries the weight of the movie on his tiny shoulders through a flawlessly moving performance.
But despite the obvious "coming of age" direction of the narrative, it is the social commentary on needy humanity feeding off itself that is particularly dismal. Michele can not control his idyllic life of yesterday that is now spiralling out of his view, adding a sad sense of helplessness to the film. (Alliance Atlantis)