27 February 2008 | jcappy
No Carbon Copy Boy!
Admiration for Gabriele Salvatores' "I'm Not Scared" abounds here, and it comes from several angles, but there is one important point that seems to have gone missing. And that is Michele's singularly un-male identity. Since I do not know Salvatores' work, I don't know his intentions, but there's no mistaking this very rare result.
Michele seems to have a gut instinct about power abuse. And specifically that of the male sort. Twice he intervenes to halt sexist attacks--once on a girl pal, and once on his mother. He does not tell himself it is her business, or his fun, or his right--he acts on what he knows. And his whole rescue mission on behalf of Filippo is in a similar vein, because it is a group of men (blackmailers) who put this young boy in such a vulnerable, life-threatening position. What is convincing about this is that none of his risky responses seem individual or heroic, but rather social/moral in nature. In his public acts, one senses the influence and courage of his mother, Filippo, his sister and others.
And what is remarkable in all this is that Michele has not one masculine impulse. He arm wrestles his father once, but it is hardly a power struggle, and he accepts help from his sister to achieve "victory." He has a convincing, unshowy, and true affection for Filippo, his mother, his sister, and withholds this affection from those whose actions and words have a male cast. He's also unselfconsciously thin and solitary; has an unsentamentalized relationship with nature; and although very much a part of a social web, shows no signs of male bonding (based in female exclusion).
My unapologetic wish is that more Michele's will populate the silver screen--but I'm not holding my breath in anticipation.