This page, dedicated to the film resources on the topics of the Convention, includes a selection of movies describing the living conditions of children, the existing relationships between the world of children and the world of adults, the evolution of the way of narrating and perceiving children and their rights.
The research on the relevant movies is carried out by the Biblioteca Innocenti Library A.C. Moro. The films in bold indicate the multimedia documents stored in the Library and available for on-site watching and loan.
Through the eyes of children
- I bambini sanno, directed by Walter Veltroni, Italy, 2015
A journey into contemporary childhood told through the voices of 39 children, aged between 8 and 13, to find out about their future plans, their dreams and their opinions on the great issues of life. A documentary film that offers insight into how these ‘growing citizens’ view and judge Italy, their lives, adults and the future.
- Sarà un paese, by Nicola Campiotti, Italiy 2014
Somewhere between documentary and fiction, the film tells the story of a journey through Italy undertaken by two brothers: 30-year-old Nicola, who despite his brilliant studies and commitment is unable to make a name for himself, and Elia, who is only 10. Together, the two brothers set off to discover a country full of contradictions and hope. Elia’s curious and enquiring gaze reigns over everything, a gaze that is also full of promise and hope for a better future.
- I bambini e noi, by Luigi Comencini, Italy, 1970
A televised investigation made up of six 60-minute episodes (La fatica, Educati e gentili, Tante case, La bicicletta, Papà lavora, Qualcosa di nuovo). It was aired on RAI in 1978, eight years after it was made. The six episodes compare the voices of children from different Italian regions and different social backgrounds, especially the less privileged.
Available to watch on RaiPlay: https://www.raiplay.it/programmi/ibambinienoi/index.html (last visit: 15/11/2019; also available at: http://www.teche.rai.it)
The courage to choose a better path
- Liberi di scegliere (Free to choose), directed by Giacomo Campiotti, Italy, 2019
A television film based on the true story of Roberto Di Bella, president of the Juvenile Court of Reggio Calabria, and the Liberi di scegliere (Free to Choose) project of the same name, which aims to offer children of mafia-type families the chance to break their ties with crime and follow their dreams, giving them the chance to move and live outside the region. In the film, the judge is called Marco Lo Bianco, lives and works in Calabria and has a dream: to take children away from the ’Ndrangheta, the mafia-type organised crime syndicate. One of these boys is Giovanni Tripodi, the favoured heir of a criminal family, who wishes to be free to choose a life outside crime. His path crosses that of the judge, putting an end to a generational passing on of roles and responsibilities that seemed unstoppable.
Available to watch on RaiPlay: https://www.raiplay.it/programmi/liberidiscegliere/index.html (last visit: 15/11/2019)
- Capernaum, directed by Nadine Labaki, Lebanon, 2018
12-year-old Zain El Hajjun, imprisoned for stabbing a man, denounces his parents for having given birth to him, without being able to provide him and his sisters (one of whom, Sahar, was sold as a teenager to a rich merchant and died of a miscarriage) with love, sustenance and care, condemning him to a life of hardship and desperation. The decision to sue his parents represents the child’s extreme attempt to assert himself and his right to a dignified life, despite hardship, poverty and deprivation. The director’s themes range from the role of parents to abused children, the question of migration, the matter of borders between states and the need to have documents in order to be considered as human beings who can be given proper attention.
- Il sole dentro,(The sun inside), directed by Paolo Bianchini, Italy, 2012
Two stories: one true, the other fictional but based on real events. The true story is that of the journey of two Guinean teenagers, Yaguine Koita (14) and Fodé Tounkara (15), who in July 1999 wrote a letter on behalf of all their fellow Africans addressed to ‘Excellencies, members and responsible authorities of Europe’, asking for help with obtaining education, food, care. With the letter in their pockets, Yaguine and Fodé hid in the landing gear compartment of a plane bound for Brussels, where technicians inspecting the plane found their lifeless bodies hugging each other. Ten years later, on the route from Europe to Africa and vice versa, the stories of Yaguine and Fodè intersect with the story of 13-year-old Thabo, an immigrant from an African village, and his friend Rocco, a 14-year-old from Bari. The two boys are victims of the trafficking of ‘baby footballers’, which they are escaping from. Taho and Rocco, while playing with a ball, cross Africa on foot and after three months finally arrive in N’Dul. There they find a football field dedicated to Yaguine and Fodè, and a rather special coach who everyone calls ‘pasta and beans’, waiting for them.
- Io non ho paura, (I’m Not Scared), by Gabriele Salvatores, Italy, 2003
1978, Acque Traverse, a small country village in southern Italy. The scorching heat pushes the adults to stay indoors, leaving the village and its hills ‘in the hands’ of six children who are free to run around as they please. One day, after a speed race up a hillside cultivated with wheat, Michele – nine years old, and the shyest of the bunch – left behind to look for his little sister Maria’s glasses, discovers the well-camouflaged body of a child in a ditch. After first believing him dead and then crazy (because of the confused and incomprehensible sentences he was saying), Michele starts to take care of the little prisoner, secretly visiting him every day and bringing him food. Little by little he learns that they are the same age, his name is Filippo and he has been kidnapped by a gang which his father seems to play an important role in. Stunned and confused, kept in the dark by adults, betrayed by his friend Salvatore and then captured by one of the kidnappers, Michele is forced into silence by his father. Soon, however, the boy realises that the kidnappers, who are being pursued by the police, intend to kill the hostage. So, at night, Michele goes to Filippo’s hiding place and frees him, risking his own life.
Balancing good and evil: teenagers and organised crime
- Selfie, by Agostino Ferrante, Italy, 2019
Alessandro and Pietro, two 16-year-olds from Naples, are inseparable friends who witnessed a dramatic real-life event in the summer of 2014: the killing of Davide Bifolco, also 16, who was shot by a police officer by mistake. The two boys accepted director Ferrante’s suggestion to film themselves with an iPhone, talking about themselves and the context in which they lived and the tragedy occurred. What emerges is a portrait of an intricate and complex world that goes beyond social stereotypes and prejudices, where if a boy cannot go to school it is not easy to find a ‘clean’ job, finding himself always on the edge between the inevitability of being caught up in crime (like the girls in the film who take it for granted that they will marry a Camorra boss) and the possibility of living differently by supporting each other (like Alessandro and Pietro).
- L’intervallo, (The Interval), by Leonardo Costanzo, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, 2012
In Naples, in a large abandoned building, we find Veronica and Salvatore: she has wronged a Camorra boss and is ‘imprisoned’; he has nothing to do with the Camorra, but is forced by the local boss to be her jailer. Both, for different reasons, are prisoners. It is precisely within the walls of this isolated and frightening place that Veronica and Salvatore, despite their personal differences, begin to chat at length and establish a relationship of mutual understanding and affection. They find a way to rekindle, even if only temporarily, the dreams and feelings of an adolescence that had too quickly been pushed aside.
- Certi bambini, by Andrea Frazzi and Antonio Frazzi, Italy, 2004
Based on the novel of the same name by Diego De Silva, the film tells the story of Rosario, an 11-year-old boy who lives with his old, sick grandmother in a block of flats on the outskirts of Naples. Rosario doesn’t go to school and, like many of his peers, doesn’t know the difference between good and evil, so he spends his days wandering aimlessly between amusement arcades, small criminal enterprises and a volunteer-run shelter for single mothers. Rosario meets Caterina at the centre and falls in love with her; his life seems to change for the better, but then a series of negative events throws him definitively into the arms of the Camorra.