Volume 16 • Issue 51 | May 14 - 20, 2004


Koch on Film

By, Ed Koch

“I’m Not Scared” (+)

This is a wonderful film, better or as good as any I have seen in the last 12 months. It is totally dependent on the acting ability of an adolescent, Giuseppe Cristiano, who plays the role of Michele.

Michele lives with his father, Pino (Dino Abbrescia), mother, Anna (Aitana Sanchez-Gijon), and younger sister on a farm in southern Italy surrounded by beautiful pastures and wheat fields. As the story unfolds, we learn that another young boy, Filippo (Mattia Di Pierro), has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom. A discussion takes place similar to the one that transpired when a child of the billionaire Getty family was kidnapped and had his ear cut off by his captors. The ear was sent to his family to show they were serious in their demand for ransom money.

How Filippo’s whereabouts is discovered and how he is saved makes for a beautiful story. What happens to Michele emotionally when he learns of a family member’s involvement in the crime is poignant. And, the betrayal of Michele by his closest friend and the latter’s effort to make peace between them is something most adults will recall having experienced as children.

Expensive blockbuster films so often disappoint, and I truly wish more real, simple and totally enjoyable films like “I’m Not Scared” were available to movie audiences. When one comes along, you should not miss it. (In Italian with English subtitles).

“Bulgarian Lovers” (-)

In his New York Times review of this film, critic Stephen Holden wrote, “Bulgarian Lovers is superbly acted, without a trace of coyness and with considerable heat.” The acting is fine, but the flick is boring. On opening night, with a good review from the Times, the theater was half empty.

The story is about an upper-middle-class aged Spaniard, Daniel (Fernando Guillen Cuervo), who meets a young Bulgarian immigrant, Kyril (Dritan Bibay). Kyril is either bisexual or engages in homosexual sex simply for the non-sexual benefits he can derive from the affair. Kyril quickly marries his girlfriend, Kalina (Anita Sinkovic), after beginning his liaison with Daniel. A subplot exists involving Bulgarian mafia members and their desire to possess nuclear bomb material.

An interlude in an otherwise very ordinary flick is provided by an Orthodox church wedding with Zorba-like dancing that raises the pleasure level a few notches. But the rest of the film, which includes frontal nudity and graphic sex totally devoid of emotion and love, sinks the movie. It’s all nonsense. You will not have to wait in line to see this movie.
- Ed Koch

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