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April 2004
I'm Not Scared: An Interview with Director Gabriele Salvatores

By Wilson Morales

I'm Not Scared: An Interview with Director Gabriele Salvatores

Coming out on April 9th is "I'm Not Scared", an Italian thriller in which a young boy.

Can you talk about what fascinated you about the novel that you adapted it to a film?

GS: The novel is about a loss of innocence, a loss of childhood. The first thing I loved when I read the book was the possibility to tell this loss of innocence as a thriller. I don't think the movie is just a thriller. It's also the relationship between a father and son; about the necessity to discover what exists underneath the surface. You can say that it's a thriller, but it's more than that.

Without giving so much of the story away, the film reflects a dark period during the 70s when kidnappings in Italy where more frequent. Can you talk about that?

GS: The kidnapping is just the start for the story. During the 7os in Italy, kidnappings occurred a lot. I chose to set the story at the end of the 70s to give it a universal meaning and some distance for our reality today. It's a not a movie about a kidnapping. It's not a political or social film.

In working with the author of the book Niccolo Ammanit, who also wrote the screenplay, were you looking to create something different?

GS: I loved this book. I loved Niccolo's work. It wasn't necessary to change a lot of things. I asked to him to write the screenplay cause he knows the story better than anyone and he loves the art of filmmaking. He wrote the story as a subject for a movie. The writing is very visual. A director's particular way of seeing things is already a different way to write a story.

Can you talk about the cinematography. I believe you shot this in 2 different locations. Was there any particular look you wanted for the film?

GS: We shot the movie in the Basilicata region of southern Italy. It's a region really forgotten and lost. You can have a quiet way of life there. The nature itself is a main character in this film. I wanted to show this beautiful nature in opposite of the fear. The are a few colors in this film, the gold, the sunny side, and the dark side life.

What were you looking for the boy who played the lead role, Giuseppe Cristiano?

GS: I saw more than 600 children who live in this area. I thought that having children who were not professionally trained could add reality to the story. It's true about reality. In Italian, we have a tradition about working with children and non-professional actors. It's not so difficult in working with non-professional children. The children are beautiful. They don't act. They do what they are directed to do.

Is there a message you want folks to leave with after seeing the film?

GS: I would like the public to come away with the knowledge that's it important to know your fears, to know what you're are afraid of, so that violence is not necessary to combat those fears. I would like for them to know that sometime it's necessary to not listen to your father.

Why so?

GS: I'm not saying that it's necessary for a child to disobey his or her parent or parents, but in any case someone who's in charge whether it be a mother or father tells you to do something that you are morally oppose to, it's your responsibility to follow your instincts, and your beliefs in some cases.

What's next for you?

GS: If I'm able to learn more English, then I would like to shoot a new movie in English. We are currently working on a co-production between Italy and Canada. The story is set during the Great Depression in a little community in Canada. It's about a love story between a woman and three men and a child.


GS: Thank You

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