Inspired by a newspaper article about a woman who prostituted her eight-year-old daughter, this rigorous, immensely affecting portrait of a pair of emotionally damaged children marks an entirely successful revival of Italian neo-realist filmmaking.
In a Milan slum, a woman (Maria Pia Di Giovanni) is arrested for prostituting her eleven-year-old daughter Rosetta (Valentina Scalici). Emotionally stunted Antonio (Enrico Lo Verso), a shy, 25-year-old carabiniere, and his partner Grigani (Fabio Alessandrini) are ordered to deliver the sullen,
rebellious Rosetta and her brother Luciano (Giuseppe Ieracitano) to a Catholic orphanage in northern Italy. Grigani abandons the group to visit his girlfriend in Bologna and Antonio and the children are turned away from the orphanage. The trio head south on a three-day trip, mostly by train, to a
home for troubled children in Sicily. En route, the children begin to shed their defenses and Antonio becomes increasingly attached to them, even though he knows he must soon turn them over to the authorities.
With a background in socially conscious Italian TV movies, director Gianni Amelio made STOLEN CHILDREN in what he terms a "naked" style, improvising on the script, shooting in unadorned, unpicturesque locations and casting several non-professional performers, including the two extraordinary
children. The straightforward, linear narrative takes its time in getting beneath the skin of the characters, in a manner that recalls the documentary-like 1940s classics of Roberto Rossellini and, perhaps most closely, de Sica's 1949 THE BICYCLE THIEF. Though the film has a deep, cumulative
emotional pull, it offers no solutions to the problems encountered: the power of STOLEN CHILDREN lies in its unsettled, unfinished quality.
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- Released: 1992
- Rating: NR
- Review: Inspired by a newspaper article about a woman who prostituted her eight-year-old daughter, this rigorous, immensely affecting portrait of a pair of emotionally damaged children marks an entirely successful revival of Italian neo-realist filmmaking. In a… (more)