Io Non Ho Paura – The Music of Surfaces
Instead of being psychological, the word ‘paura’ can be better connected with ‘pausa’ which has its roots in Greek paùo (stop). The likeness in the semantic feel of both the words, ‘paura’ and ‘pausa’ is also arguable to an extent: ‘to stop’ and ‘to be afraid’. But it is music, which conceptualize ‘pausa’ in its infinite dimension. In musical terms ‘pausa’ is a "^" or "v" mark over or under note or rest that is to be lengthened indefinitely” (Oxford Dictionary).
"Io non ho paura" (INHP) is the indefinite music of childhood. The film juxtaposes the music of the sky, of the fields, of ants and reptiles with depths. The dichotomy is between childhood and adulthood or more to say, between surfaces and depths. "Let not anything stop me (pausa), I am not scared (paura)" could be the driving force of INHP.
Rhetoric in reviews can do promotional work for a film by explaining it with filmic jargons which are supposedly helpful to the viewers in their viewing. The relationship between these views and the film they review is based on those conceptual structures they attribute in the film. Thus, to view a film in a psychoanalytic way or giving a feminist reading to a film is to delineate those figures and meanings in the film which are attributed to be feministic or psychoanalytical. Such reviews fall in the traditional category or criticism and fail to demonstrate the deconstructive ‘being’ of the film itself. For a discerning viewer of INHP, the well in which the boy is held hostage is a clear analogy of human subconscious as explained by Psychoanalysis. The film makes this clearer when Michele asks the boy whether his father’s name is also Pino, same as that of Michele’s own father. In other words, Michele discovering the boy in the well is his first insight into his own subconscious mind.
The possibility would have found its endpoint there, with subconscious holding the prominent meaning throughout the body of the film; with man being the hostage of his own subconscious; a neurotic but, obedient functionary himself. But the film expresses its deconstructive ‘being’ when depths are later juxtaposed with the music of surfaces. Gilles Deleuze quotes from Michel Tournier’s Friday in his The Logic of Sense: "It is a strange prejudice which sets a higher value on depth than on breadth, and which accepts 'superficial' as meaning not 'of wide extent' but of 'little depth', whereas 'deep', on the other hand, signifies 'of great depth', and not 'of small surface.'"
Besides, INHP wants to reveal the power of movement against the depths of stagnation. The boy held hostage is taken out from the well to the world outside, to meander and nothing more. The movement here is different from the preplanned motion of 'action films'. The movement here is nomadic, superficial and even schizophrenic. "A schizophrenic out for a walk is a better model than a neurotic on Psychoanalyst’s couch" (Deleuze, Capitalism and Schizophrenia). On every mode, INHP’s violence is against Psychoanalytically defined human being and the symbols that appear in the film have a different telos when compared to their use in the definition of unconscious by traditional Psychology.
Visit this blog for a different take on this film: Jay's Movie Blog
Io Non Ho Paura is directed by Gabriele Salvatores.
The article was completed on 5th October 2005