"I'm Not Scared"
by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5 stars)
Giuseppe Cristiano as MICHELE
Mattia Di Pierro as FILIPPO
Aitana Sanchez-Gijon as ANNA
Dino Abbrescia as PINO
Giorgio Carecci as FELICE
Antonella Stefanucci as ASSUNTA
Created by: Gabriele Salvatores
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In ďIím Not Scared,Ē Michele is a young boy who lives in Southern Italy in 1978. He and his friends are spending the days running through the fields and having the meaningless play that all of us have experienced. However, one day, Michele stays behind at an abandoned shack where they were playing, and discovers another young boy living in a hole.
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At first, heís terrified of the boy, making up twisted fantasies that this is his own brother that his parents have hidden for years. However, he soon learns the truth - that the boy has been kidnapped by the men in the village and is being held for ransom. Michele must learn to understand why his family would be involved in such an act - while he takes compassion on the kidnapped boy against his familyís wishes.
Now, Iím not Italian. Iíve never been to Italy. However, although I grew up in the Columbus, Ohio suburbs, I can still remember what it was like to have the freedom of summer - and what it was like to spend those days running through the park, killing time before school would start in the fall. So, I can definitely relate to the mundane life of a childhood summer, and I can only imagine what finding this secret would do to disrupt the norm.
At itís heart, ďIím Not ScaredĒ is a story of lost innocence. And while the main character of Michele loses his innocence by witnessing violence and evil within people, he loses even more. He loses the innocent belief that his father is the greatest guy in the world.
All boys grow up idolizing their fathers, at least to some degree. Unfortunately, as we grow older, we learn that our fathers are human, too. They have faults - sometimes huge faults. Our innocence is lost at that point. Fortunately, most of us eventually learn to forgive our fathers for not being supermen - especially when we have kids of our own and know for a fact that we, ourselves, are far from supermen.
In ďIím Not Scared,Ē Michele has to face his father as the enemy - something that we wish no one would ever have to face. Even worse, Michele sees his mother looking the other way and justifying his fatherís actions. But thereís no amount of ďyouíll understand when you get olderĒ that is going to heal the damage that is done to Michele.
ďIím Not ScaredĒ is a beautifully crafted film, top to bottom. Sometimes you find a film thatís well acted, but poorly shot - or well written but poorly executed. ďIím Not ScaredĒ manages to be excellent on all marks. Even as an Italian film with subtitles (and no option of English dubbing on the DVD), itís a powerful film. The actors are spot-on, especially the kids. Modern American cinematographers could take a lesson from this film, considering itís powerful simplicity without looking like an overproduced music video.
Itís also a great lesson in human nature. There are good people, and there are bad people. There are good men, and there are bad men. There are good kids, and there are bad kids. And in all of these spreads, there are also those in between. Often this is formed early in a person, but it can deteriorate - or be bolstered - by good or bad decisions throughout our lives.