Watch The Stolen Children
- 1 hr 54 min
The Stolen Children is a poignant Italian drama from 1992 that explores the harrowing experiences of Southern Italian families, particularly the children, who suffer from poverty, violence, and exploitation. The film is directed by Gianni Amelio and stars Enrico Lo Verso, Valentina Scalici, and Giuseppe Ieracitano. The story takes place in present-day Naples, Italy, and follows the adventures of two lost boys, one seven-year-old and the other thirteen, who face a daunting journey to reconnect with their families in a world that shows them no mercy.
The movie revolves around Rosetta (Valentina Scalici), a young mother of two children from a destitute family in rural Calabria. She believes that she has struck gold when a rich entrepreneur, a distant relative, offers her a job in his factory in Milan. She packs her bags, and the two children, Antonio (Giuseppe Ieracitano), and his little brother, Vitangelo (Mattia Di Pierro), set out on a journey that promises a better life. However, they soon find themselves abandoned in Naples, where they encounter street gangs, abusive policemen, and an orphaned boy named Ciro (Enrico Lo Verso), who earns a living by pickpocketing.
The children are soon caught in the midst of a dark and brutal world of child trafficking, where they become commodities to be sold and exploited by adults. The factories and farms in the North of Italy have an insatiable demand for child labor, and the Mafia has a tight grip on the industry. The film provides a stark commentary on the harsh realities that poor families and children from the South of Italy face daily. It portrays with cinematic brilliance the tactics used to lure children and their families into a trap of exploitation and despair.
Director Amelio draws us into the story with powerful, emotive performances by the young actors who portray the two lost brothers, Antonio and Vitangelo, and Ciro, the orphan boy who becomes their savior. The children's innocence and vulnerability are poignantly portrayed, making this film both heartrending and inspiring. Antonio, having the responsibility of caring for his little brother, displays resilience and strength beyond his years amid the most insurmountable odds.
The film captures the harsh realities of Naples, Italy, and the plight of those who find themselves in the margins of society. The scenes depicting the crowded, unhygienic housing conditions, the cruel police officers, the gangs, the beggars, and the pickpockets all combine to create an authentic picture of a modern-day city of hidden sorrows. Throughout the film, the city's poverty and deprivation ultimately manifest as a betrayal of trust, and the children become the unwitting victims.
The Stolen Children is a reminder of the human toll that poverty, violence, and exploitation have on families and children around the world. The film's message is timeless and universally relevant, highlighting the ongoing issues of child labor and child trafficking in many parts of the world. The stories of these children provide an apt metaphor for millions of children worldwide suffering from abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
To sum up, The Stolen Children is a riveting and thought-provoking film that confronts the harsh realities of modern-day urban life. It is a beautifully shot movie with genuine, heartfelt performances, capturing raw emotions and painting an authentic picture of jarring realities. The film invites us to reflect on the plight of those on the margins of society, especially children, and to remain vigilant of the deceptions used to lure them into exploitation. It is a remarkable film that has rightly earned its place as one of the most important Italian films of the 1990s.