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Movie Review: I'm Not Scared (lo non ho paura)

Alternate Title: Innocence Lost

Story: To enjoy this film as much as I did you will have to follow Italian director Gabriele Salvatores' (1991's Oscar winning Mediterraneo) lead and watch the film through the eyes of its 10 year old star, Michele. If you decide to second guess or deduce the story line as an adult you will most certainly lose some of the charm of the film.

It is 1978, southern Italy, in a small town (if you could even call it a town) where Michele and his little friends are enjoying the idyllic repasts of summertime in the rural countryside. This idyllic setting quickly changes when Michele comes across a hole in the ground where a dirty, urchin-like child is being held captive. Note: Italy during this period in time was victim to many kidnappings for ransom. The film is based on best selling author Niccolo Ammaniti's novel.

The film succeeds on several levels. It is beautifully filmed, well acted, believable and consistent from the child's point of view. It slowly changes from a nostalgic coming of age film into a mystery/thriller that should appeal to all.

Acting: Young Giuseppe Cristano as Michele was terrific. He carries the film on his young shoulders and it works beautifully. He is innocent, handsome and cast to perfection. Mattia Di Pierro as the young kidnap victim was also strong and believable. The rest of the cast worked well, too.

Predilection: I like Italian films.

Critters: Pigs, a chicken, snakes, owls, a frog and lots of crows.

Food: Bread, mashed potatoes, eggs and of course, pasta.

Visual Art: The southern Italian landscape was beautiful enough not to notice the lack of interior art.

Blatant Product Placement: Kit Kat bars.

Soundtrack: A soft touch that added to the movie's building tension.

Opening Titles: Very effective childlike scrawl "lo non ho paura" (I'm not scared).

Theater Audience: About a dozen Italian film lovers.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 2- A child as a kidnap victim always will have a certain squirm factor attached to its story line.

Predictability Level: I was hoping it would go a certain way but was not sure.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Should be a foreign film category contender,

Nit Picking: No nits to pick but the child kidnap victim was so dirty he probably had enough nits for everyone to pick.

Big Screen or Rental: Go for the big screen. For a rental try the wonderful 'Mediterraneo.'

Length: 100 minutes.

LOBO HOWLS: 8