Movie Review by Lisa Henshall
Starring: Aitana Sanchez-Gijon, Diego Abatantuono, Nirvana Dino Abbrescia, Giuseppe Crisitano
Director: Gabriele Salvatores
Based on the 2001 best-selling novel ‘Io Non Ho Paura’ by Niccolo Ammaniti, the book originally started life as a screenplay which can be seen in the film – a visually breathtaking and stylish examination of childhood adventure and trauma. The novel was based on Ammaniti’s own memories of a series of child-kidnappings that took place when he was growing up in Italy during the late 70s. It tells the tale of a young boy struggling to prove he can be a grown-up while remaining suspicious of the adult world and the dangers that come with it.
The hero of the story is 10 year-old Michele (played by the extremely talented Giuseppe Cristiano) who spends his summer days racing his friends through wheat fields, miles from home, and performing dares to prove their courage. When Michele uncovers a deep hole while out exploring on one day, he has to overcome new fears to discover what or who is at the bottom of the hole and why. But the more he learns the harder his decisions become, especially when it seems his parents maybe involved in some way.
The representation of 70s village life is carefully recreated and undeniably Italian, especially the little touches like the women buying high heels from the travelling shoe salesman even though they can’t afford them and they are totally unsuitable in such a remote area. The southern Italian countryside has a raw beauty, despite the dust and emptiness. The character development for the children is excellent and even though the adults are viewed from the children’s perspective they still remain fully rounded characters and without stereotype.
Oscar winning director Salvatores (MEDITERRANEO) has beautifully recreated the world of Ammaniti’s novel and as always the cinematography and casting are excellent. But this time there is a heightened feeling of tension mixed with horror and at times it is genuinely chilling and creepy – well worth going to see on the big screen!