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Original Title

Certi bambini


Andrea and Antonio Frazzi



Country of origin


Language spoken


Year of production




Domestic distribution/World Sales

Mikado Film


Domestic release

14 May 2004 (Italy)


European Film Awards 2004 (European Discovery of the Year)
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2004 (Crystal Globe)

Suggested by

Claudio Gubitosi – Director of Giffoni Film Festival (Italy)

List of Distributors

Release date



23 February 2005



Future release: 7 July 2005


Bright Angel Distribution



‘Certi Bambini’ is the story of the wasted youth of an eleven-year old rascal called Rosario. Even though the story is fictional (the film is based on the homonymous novel by co-screenwriter Diego De Silva) it is achingly accurate in its portrayal of kids growing up without much of a future in Southern Italy. There are two things that make ‘Certi Bambini’ stand out from the ‘kids getting into crime to survive’ genre; the stream-of-consciousness technique used in the storytelling (from the point of view of Rosario himself) and the fact that the environment in which Rosario is growing up (a nameless Naples suburb) does not present him with a good-vs-bad situation that is black-and-white, but a setting in which crime is in the very fabric of daily life and as such is not seen as ‘bad’. This film is as much about Rosario's attitudes as it is about the attitudes of Southern Italian society in general. Rosario likes to play with the other kids from the neighbourhood, showing off his prowess as the man of the household (since only his grandmother and himself are left) and always daring the others to follow his lead. Their games range from crossing a busy highway with their eyes closed to petty crimes; for them there is no difference. Both are exciting, though the latter might even be preferable since they could make some money out of it. Rosario also volunteers to help out Santino at ‘Casa Laetizia’, a house run by a priest where women find shelter; the beautiful Caterina is staying there and has caught his eye. The story is told in a series of flashbacks whilst Rosario is sitting in the metro, on his way to a football match.

This film does not offer a solution to Rosario’s problems, but it does make it crystal-clear that this situation can only be resolved if the attitudes and thinking of the entire society can be changed as a whole.