The Stolen Children

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The Stolen Children
Il ladro di bambini (film).jpg
Directed by Gianni Amelio
Produced by Angelo Rizzoli Jr
Written by Gianni Amelio
Sandro Petraglia
Stefano Rulli
Giorgia Cecere
  • Enrico Lo Verso
  • Valentina Scalici
  • Giuseppe Ieracitano
  • Florence Darel
  • Marina Golovine
Music by Franco Piersanti
Cinematography Tonino Nardi
Renato Tafuri
Edited by Simona Paggi
Distributed by The Samuel Goldwyn Company in USA, 1993
Release date
  • 10 April 1992 (1992-04-10)
Running time
114 minutes
Country Italy
Language Italian

The Stolen Children (Italian: Il ladro di bambini) is a 1992 Italian film directed by Gianni Amelio. The film was selected as the Italian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 65th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.[1][2]


The beginning of the film is set in the housing projects of suburban Milan, where two troubled children and their mother (an immigrant from Sicily) live. Unmarried and poor, the mother is not able to meet the economic demands of her two children, subjecting her to prostitute her eleven-year-old daughter Rosetta to one of her wealthy friends. It is unclear how long the prostitution has been going on, but it continues until the day the authorities get involved. After the arrest of the mother, the children are destined to be sent to an orphanage in Civitavecchia, Rome. Antonio, a young police officer, and one of his work partners get hired to escort the children by train. Antonio’s partner bails on him, and gets off at Bologna for personal reasons, leaving Antonio to complete the task alone.

Immediately, there is a wavering relationship between the three characters, and as the film develops, it only gets worse. Not only does Luciano, Rosetta’s little brother, suffer from asthma, as well as from a speech problem, most likely resulting from the traumatic experience of witnessing his sister being abused, but Rosetta also shows very rebellious characteristics that make it nearly impossible for Antonio to take control. When they arrive in Rome, at the institute for the children, the head person tells Antonio that the children cannot stay because Rosetta’s medical record is missing. This is most likely an excuse because they are afraid that she will corrupt the other children. Antonio has no choice but to continue his work instead of going to his higher-ups, since he still has to cover for his colleague who is no longer on the case. Antonio decides to bring the children to another institute in Gela, Sicily.

The children spend one day at Antonio’s sister’s home in Calabria, where they celebrate the First Communion of a family member. Antonio tells his family members that the children are the children of one of his superiors. There, Antonio and Rosetta play and socialize with other kids their age, and are able to forget about their difficult situation. This distraction, however, is promptly cut short by one of the invited guests at the party, Mrs. Papaelo who recognizes Rosetta from a photo in the newspaper about the case of the young girl’s prostitution, and exclaims it to everyone. Rosetta, incredibly humiliated and ashamed, runs out of the house, and Antonio consequently follows, in a moment where the relationship between the characters finally begins to flourish. Antonio develops a sense of compassion for the children, whereas at first, it was merely a duty he had to complete.

Antonio decides to immediately leave the house, taking the children to their next location, during which they meet two French tourists. At the cathedral of Noto, Sicily, one of the tourists gives Rosetta her camera, which is then snatched from her by a thief. Antonio chases after the thief, and after having caught him, arrests him and takes him to the police station. Because of this, Antonio is also found guilty for the robbery of a person. They allow him to continue the trip to the next orphanage, but he will suffer the consequences upon his return. Having nearly reached their final destination, Antonio and the children all fall asleep in the car. The children wake up at early dawn, and walk off to the side of the road, where they sit together awaiting something to happen.



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  2. ^ "Foreign Oscar entries submitted". Variety. Retrieved 20 September 2015. 
  3. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Stolen Children". Retrieved 2009-08-14. 

External links[edit]