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While playing outside one day, nine-year-old Michele discovers Filippo, who is chained to the ground at the bottom of a hole. Michele witnesses town baddie Felice nearby and suspects something bad is happening. Michele is unsure whom he should tell about his discovery, eventually spilling the beans to his closest friend. Written by
Having seen the trailer for the film, I was intrigued. If one doesn't catch an Italian film cycle, it's almost impossible to see a film from that country lately, even in a cosmopolitan city like New York. This film has just been released for a commercial run. Having seen "Mediterraneo" from the same director, Gabriele Salvatores, was another reason for taking a look at this movie.
The film depicts the horrors that Italy lived in the 70s with a wave of kidnappings. While a lot had political undertones, the fact remains that a lot of children were kidnapped for a ransom.
The idyllic way the film unfolds, with the children running freely in the wheat fields, is a sharp contrast of the mystery that is hidden, in a hole, by the abandoned house where they go to play. Michele, the boy at the center of the story, discovers the dark secret that will involve his own family and will end in a tragedy.
This is a story about friendship, loyalty and the realization of the ugliness behind what appears a serene, if poor, family life. Giuseppe Cristiano plays the young boy with conviction and makes us believe he is that boy presented in the story. It also speaks volumes how children interplay with others of their same age no matter whether they are rich, or poor.
The director is to be congratulated for dealing with the subject matter and making us care about a little boy that had the courage to save a life. We'll be looking forward other films from Mr. Salvatores, very soon.
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