Antonio, a policeman (carabiniere), has an order to take two children (Rosetta and her brother Luciano) from Milan to Sicily to an orphanage. Their mother has been arrested for forcing ... See full summary »
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Antonio, a policeman (carabiniere), has an order to take two children (Rosetta and her brother Luciano) from Milan to Sicily to an orphanage. Their mother has been arrested for forcing Rosetta (11 years old) to work as a prostitute. First the relation between Antonio and the children is tough, but it relaxes so they become temporary friends. Written by
Il ladro di bambini (aka Stolen Children) is the best film I have ever seen!
The child actors are supreme and the plot development feels real from beginning to end.
There are very few films that can make us confront a difficult issue without resorting to maudlin tears or some other form of emotional manipulation. This is one of them -- no Hollywood treatment here.
And I like the fact that the trip is a journey -- both physically and spiritually. It starts in the north of Italy and leads us progressively towards its southern extremity in Sicily. As the children migrate to the South, our hopes and hearts warm as we come to expect a new emotional climate for them. As with any film intending to make a serious comment on the devestating nature of child abuse, something intervenes to prove to us that our hopes are premature.... This film betrays no compromise in its portrayal of innocence lost and regained and lost once again. The scene at the end with the girl comforting her brother is one of the most poignant I know in film.
I would put this film at the top of a narrow list of films addressing childhood trauma (including "Salaam Bombay!" and "Alice in the Cities"). But the perfection of the child actors, the tremendous care of the storytelling (director Gianni Amelio co-authored the screenplay), and the generous, ambulant scenery make this film a standout that has seldom been rivaled.
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