Title: The Children Know (I bambini sanno)
Director: Walter Veltroni
Children have the power to see the world unfiltered. Too often their judgement is merely seen as naive and unrealistic, but if you sit down with them you’ll find they can be extremely influential philosophers. You might learn from their earnest – and at times ironic – decipherment of what occurs around us.
This is the premise of the documentary ‘The Children Know’, made by the Italian writer, journalist and politician Walter Veltroni, former Mayor of Rome, who also served as leader of the Democratic Party within the centre-left opposition until 2009.
‘I bambini sanno’ (the original title of the film) is a journey through childhood told through the eyes, faces and voices of 34 kids aged between 9 and 13. The children are interviewed individually in their room and are asked to describe their vision on topics such as love, God, crisis and homosexuality.
The camera becomes the tool to capture and narrate the world through the eyes of the little ones; to understand their take on “grownup stuff”; to discover their future projects, their dreams and their points of view on life’s major issues. The narrative allows a variety of differences to emerge between the children.
All of us have experienced that stage, but life’s struggles and pains have removed that clarity and wisdom in our judgement. Recklessness in devouring experience is what distinguishes that unsullied moment of life. As time goes by maturity seems to be the outcome of hesitant forethought.
This is why the kids’ answers yield big lessons for the grownups who take the time to observe them day by day. When the question comes up “What do you need in life to be happy?”, little Peter has no doubts: “To dream.” Alas adulthood has instilled in us the fear to do so, and it takes a younger voice to trigger that courage in us, to dare to let in reverie again.
Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi