I'm Not Scared
|I'm Not Scared
(Io non ho paura)
Italian poster for Io non ho paura
|Directed by||Gabriele Salvatores|
|Produced by||Marco Chimenz
|Written by||Niccolò Ammaniti
Francesca Marciano (screenplay)
|Based on||Io non ho paura
by Niccolò Ammaniti
Mattia Di Pierro
|Music by||Ezio Bosso|
|Distributed by||Capitol Films
Miramax Films (USA)
|Release date(s)||March 14, 2003
April 9, 2004 (USA)
June 11, 2004 (UK)
|Running time||108 minutes|
I'm Not Scared (Italian: Io non ho paura) is a 2003 film directed by Gabriele Salvatores. Francesa Marciano and Niccolò Ammaniti wrote the script based on Niccolò Ammaniti's successful 2001 Italian novel Io non ho paura. The story is during Italy's anni di piombo, a time riddled with terrorism and kidnapping in the 1970s, and tells the story of a ten-year-old boy who discovers a terrible crime the entire population of his southern Italian town has committed.
The film takes place in 1978 in a fictional town called Acqua Traverse in Southern Italy during the hottest summer of the century and the infamous Years of Lead. A ten-year-old boy named Michele Amitrano (Giuseppe Cristiano) and a group of his friends set out across scorched wheat fields in a race. Michele's sister tags along but falls, breaking her glasses, and calls out to Michele, who runs back to her. Michele quickly appeases her worries over the glasses, and they continue running. Of the group, they are the last ones to arrive at the deserted farmhouse, and Michele, therefore, must pay up. However, the leader of the group, Skull, chooses the only girl in the group besides Michele's sister to pay up instead. He instructs her to expose herself to the boys, and she looks to the others for help, but they refuse to meet her gaze. She reluctantly and hesitantly begins to oblige, when Michele pipes up that he was the one to arrive last and that he should be the one to pay.
After Michele walks across a tall beam high up in a rickety old barn-like structure at the deserted farmhouse as punishment, the group is seen going home. As Michele and his sister ride home, she asks him where her glasses are, and he goes back to fetch them. While searching for these glasses in the farmhouse, Michele discovers a hole in the ground covered with a sheet of metal. He opens it and sees part of a bare leg; horrified, due to the limited time he had to investigate the situation, he decides to keep it a secret from the gang, he feels threatened by Skull and doesn't want such a big discovery to be taken away from him. The next day he returns to the site, throwing rocks at the leg. As he moves to pick up another rock, the camera pans to him, on the ground, searching around him in the dirt, where he finds another rock to throw. As the camera pans back into the hole, the leg is out of sight. Startled, Michele is suddenly staring down at a zombie-like young boy stumbling out of the darkness and into view. Terrified, Michele hurries home once more, but then his bike chain breaks and he is thrown off his bike. As he returns home he is scolded for being late. The next day while playing with friends Michele thinks of the boy and Michele visits the zombie-boy again, and finds that he is actually alive, although he is very weak. Michele brings him water and, later, food. He goes one day to buy bread for the boy and brings it to him to feed him. On the way he sees a familiar face Skull's brother driving from the house. He thinks it is him who has the boy captured. He returns home making sure that his own presence is not discovered by whoever put the boy there.
Michele climbs down to collect the bread back from the boy. During this time Michele's undaunted curiosity leads him to begin questioning the confused, possibly delusional, and traumatized boy. To Michele's annoyance, the boy believes himself to be dead and asks Michele if he is his guardian angel. The boy walks to him and Michele sees him full size, going crazy the boy cries "I'm Dead"! Screaming louder and louder making Michele climb back up the rope quickly and return home.
One night, Michele sees his parents watching on TV news that a child named Filippo belonging to the Carducci Family has been kidnapped from Milan, and the boy in the pictures shown looks just like the boy in the hole. He overhears the plans his parents and friends have discussed about keeping this boy hidden. The next morning he discovers his parents are hosting late-night meetings with the parents of his playmates and one domineering visitor "from the North" who now sleeps in his room. Michele, to his shock, gradually comes to realize that his own father is involved in the kidnapping, as well as some other men in the town. He visits the boy and tells him he knows his name and informs the boy of his mother and the message she left on the TV about him. This message was not received well by the boy, he believes he is still dead. Until Michele told him that he is a guardian angel and comes visits him, he promise to visit again. He continues visiting Filippo (Mattia di Pierro) and one day he lets him out for some hours of play in the wheat fields together, and then he returns him back to the hole. To win a toy as present for Filippo, he barters his best friend Salvatore for a toy blue van by offering to share a secret. He reveals to Salvatore Filippo's existence, but Salvatore shows discomfort with the story and, albeit, surrenders the van and promising Michele that he will not reveal the secret to anyone.
On Michele's next visit to Filippo, Michele is apprehended by one of the kidnappers (the older brother of Skull), who catches him in the hole with Filippo and punches him, then hauls him out and drives him home. Michele's friend Salvatore turns out to have revealed his secret to Skull's brother. His parents do have contrasting reactions to his being apprehended. His mother defies Michele's attacker in defense of her son. But his father, upon learning that he has been visiting Filippo, threatens to beat him if he ever goes back to visit the kid again. Michele vows to oblige his father. But then one day Skull cajoles his peers into again visiting the farmhouse, where Michele discovers the hole empty and Filippo gone. His friend-turned-traitor Salvatore readily tells him he knows where Filippo has been moved, having overheard his father tell Michele's father, and will tell him if Michele will forgive his betrayal. The next night, Michele overhears the adults in the film discussing who will kill Filippo, and Michele sets out immediately to find Filippo—in a "cave" and save him, boosting him out and telling him to run for his life while Michele tries to find a way out for himself with no footing to boost him over the gate. Meanwhile, Michele's father has drawn the short match and shows up at the cave to kill Filippo. Michele sees it is his father and runs toward him across the cave just as his father fires his gun, shooting his own son's leg. In the film's last scene, Michele's father runs with Michele in his arms in search of medical aid as the ringleader from the "North" (Milan) finds him and insists he has to resume his assigned task (killing Filippo). However, Filippo appears and risks his own danger to show gratitude to Michele, just as helicopters arrive and track down the ringleader trying to escape. The film ends with a repentant Pino clutching his son and Michele reaching out to Filippo.
- Giuseppe Cristiano as Michele Amitrano
- Mattia Di Pierro as Filippo Carducci
- Giulia Matturo as Maria Amitrano
- Aitana Sánchez-Gijón as Anna Amitrano
- Dino Abbrescia as Pino Amitrano
- Giorgio Careccia as Felice Natale
- Diego Abatantuono as Sergio Materia
- Fabio Tetta as Teschio Natale
- Stefano Biase as Salvatore Scardaccione
- Fabio Antonacci as Remo Marzano
- Adriana Conserva as Barbara Mura
- Susy Sánchez as Filippo's mother
- Antonella Stefanucci as Assunta Meehan
- Riccardo Zinna as Pietro Mura
- Michele Vasca as Candela
I'm Not Scared is based on Niccolò Ammaniti's novel Io non ho paura. Ammaniti got the idea for the book during a road trip to Puglia in the late 1990s. The novel won the 2001 Viareggio-Repaci Prize for Fiction. Since its publication in 2001, the novel sold nearly 700,000 copies and was published in over twenty languages. Jonathan Hunt wrote the English translation, which is available as hardcover and paperback by Canongate, 2003.
The story is set in the fictional town of Acqua Traverse (literally water crossings) in the equally fictitious province of Lucignano (not to be confused with the real town of Lucignano, Tuscany). The film was shot in Basilicata and Puglia, an area of Italy where director Gabriele Salvatores spent his youth. The primary set was in the countryside near Melfi. Salvatores chose to challenge the kind of Italian film that typically becomes popular on the foreign market: "the beautiful ocean, the nostalgic past, mafia, pizza, and mandolins."
The story is loosely based on a true story of a kidnapped boy from Milan during the anni di piombo in the 1970s, a time of turmoil and terrorism in Italy. At the time, it was alarmingly common to kidnap people from the North and transport them to the South, where they would be hidden and sometimes killed unless the ransom was paid. 1978 was the year in which kidnappings in Italy reached an all-time peak of nearly 600. Although many kidnappings were politically motivated, children of wealthy northern families were targeted as well. It became such a problem that the Italian government decided to automatically freeze the assets of any families whose children had been kidnapped and contacted by people wanting a ransom to discourage this phenomenon.
According to Salvatores, the film is not primarily about kidnapping of the time but the mystery revolving around a kidnapping. The story is also about the journey and loss of innocence of a young boy. The majority of the actors in the film, especially the children, were local citizens with no filming or acting experience. Giuseppe Cristiano, who played the main character, had never appeared in a film before. The director spoke with psychologists about the impact of filming on the residents. Not to raise hopes, the filmmakers explained to the parents of the child actors that this was not a ticket to Hollywood. The veteran actors Aitana Sanchez-Gijon, Dino Abbrescia and Giorgio Careccia were cast in the adult roles.
The vivid scenery in this film is one of its most recognized characteristics. There are many views of fields and hills of wheat, this endless land being the backyard for the children of Acqua Traverse and the setting to their childhood adventures. The film used a strong primary color scheme to portray the way children see the world, focusing on specific objects of interest with a close-up. The film score is primarily by a string quartet, that includes original music by Ezio Bosso, Quartetto d’Archi di Torino and Pepo Scherman as well as work by Canadian Michael Galasso.
Two days after Io non ho paura appeared at the Berlin Film Festival in February 2003, thirty-two countries had purchased the film. Miramax distributed the film in the U.S., where it grossed $1,615,328.
- Berlin International Film Festival 2003: Nominated, Golden Berlin Bear, Gabriele Salvatores
- European Film Awards 2003: Nominated, Best Cinematographer, Italo Petriccione
- Flaiano Film Festival 2003: Won, Audience Award for Best Actor, Giuseppe Crisiano, Won, Best Film Score, Ezio Bosso, Won, Best Screenplay, Niccolo Ammaniti
- Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists 2003: Won, Best Cinematrography, Italo Petriccione, Won, Best Director, Gabriele Salvatores, Won, Best Supporting Actor, Diego Abatantuono, Nominated, Best Producer, Nominated, Best Score, Ezio Bosso, Pepo Scherman, Nominated, Best Screenplay, Niccolo Ammanti, Francesca Marciano, Nominated, Best Sound, Maruo Lazzaro
- David di Donatello Awards 2004: Nominated, Best Film, Maurizio Totti, RIccardo Tozzi, Gabriele Salvatores, Nominated, Best Music, Ezio Bosso, Nominated, Best Sound, Mauro Lazzaro, Nominated, Best Supporting Actor, Diego Abatanuono, Won, Best Cinematography, Italo Petriccione, Won, Gabriele Salvatores
- Golden Trailer Awards 2004: Nominated, Best Foreign Independent
- Young Artists Awards 2004: Nominated, Best International Feature Film
- Bodil Awards 2005: Nominated, Best Non-American Film, Gabriele Salvatores
- Edgar Allan Poe Awards 2005: Nominated, Best Motion Picture Screenplay, Francesca Marciano, Niccolo Ammaniti
- Wendell Ricketts "I'm Not Scared: The Film: A Stunning Interpretation of the Book by the Same Name" at the Wayback Machine (archived July 16, 2007) 12 December 2007 (screenshots of the movie available on this website)
- Website for English-language mystery novels set in Italy
- Miriam Di Nunzio "'Scared' director takes risk with cast of unknowns" Chicago Sun-Times. April 18, 2004. Retrieved 12 December 2007.
- I'm Not Scared (2004) - Movie Preview - RopeofSilicon.com
- Io non ho paura (2003) - Awards
- I'm Not Scared at the Internet Movie Database
- I'm Not Scared at Rotten Tomatoes
- I'm Not Scared at AllMovie
- Io non ho paura - Arthouse Films