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Enrico Lo Verso,
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
This is one of the best films of all time. The story is heartbreaking: an 11 year-old girl has been forced into prostitution by her mother. When the police arrest the mother, Rosetta and her little brother Luciano (who is 9) must be taken to a children's home in the south of Italy. A young Carabiniere named Antonio is assigned the task of taking them from Milan to Sicilly, even though he's barely more than a child himself. The journey takes this mismatched threesome to Antonio's home province, where he re-unites briefly with his sister and his old granny, before Rosetta is recognized from a magazine cover, and shunned. The growing tenderness among the three young people is the essence of the story. The girl, although only 11, conveys the bitterness of adulthood through her ineffably sad eyes. She knows so much more about life than her 19 year-old policeman, yet without any seedy sexual implications, he comes to teach her through his tender care that there's more to life than sorrow. Luciano is a beautiful child, whose adoration of the soldier/cop is delicately and warmly depicted. Only The 400 Blows and Forbidden Games have captured the ache of childhood as well. The director has used stunning compositions and lingering takes of the Italian countryside that make the story resonate beyond its intimate canvas. The acting is brilliant. I suppose the only reason this film has not been released on DVD is it's controversial subject matter, which is a shame, because that shunning is what the film is about. The Italian title is Il Ladro di Bambini. Don't miss it!
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