I'm Not Scared (15)

Directed by Gabriele Salvatores
Italian with English subtitles
Showing at the Fact, 11 – 24 June 2004

Reviewed by Lesley Fraser

I'm Not Scared is a delightful film and simply a joy to watch. It is set in a dusty old village in Southern rural Italy during the searing summer heat of 1978. Ten-year-old Michel (Guiseppe Cristiano) and a group of his friends go off on bike rides through the nearby cornfields to take their attention off the unbearable dry heat and monotonous environment.

One of these rides takes them to a disused barn where Michel is forced to return on his own to find his sister’s lost spectacles. Upon his unaccompanied visit to the barn he comes across a dark and eerie pit in which he sees what at first seems like a horrifying creature. Michel’s imagination runs wild and subsequent visits to this place reveal the development of a unique relationship between Michel and the creature.

A surprise visit from Michel’s father unfolds the mystery of the creature and we find out that it is actually a young boy called Fillipo who has been kidnapped and badly mistreated for ransom. Michel takes it upon himself to rescue the boy with shocking consequences for all concerned.

This film really does take you on a journey through the imagination of two young boys, both of whom have entirely different and unique imaginations due to the environment and circumstances in which they meet. What is so beautiful about it is the way in which they connect and the subsequent building of a great friendship based on fear, bravery, joy, trust and companionship all played out through a brilliant setting and script.