TALE OF A FEARLESS CHILD: DEDICATED TO IQBAL

By Michel FUZELLIER, Babak PAYAMI

GERTIE - as PROD

Animation - Pre-Production 2009


Festivals
& Awards

Busan - BIFF/APM 2016
Wide Angle
    • Year of production
    • 2009
    • Genres
    • Animation
    • Countries
    • ITALY, FRANCE, CANADA
    • Languages
    • ITALIAN, ENGLISH
    • Duration
    • 80 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Michel FUZELLIER, Babak PAYAMI
    • Writer(s)
    • Michel FUZELLIER, Paolo BONALDI, Lara FREMDER
    • Producer(s)
    • Franco SERRA (Gertie srl)
    • Synopsis
    • TALE OF A FEARLESS CHILD: DEDICATED TO IQBAL
      ©2008 Gertie srl, Spectra Animation, Montparnasse Productions & 2d3D Animations all rights reserved
      The film is inspired by the true story of Iqbal Masih: sold and traded for 16 dollars to a rug merchant and moneylender in Lahore.
      We have set the movie in Pandar, an imaginary metropolis built on the shores of an imaginary country in Southern Asia.
      Iqbal is a good, talented boy, and his skills are necessary to help pay for medicine for his gravely ill brother: he needs exactly 16 dollars! Iqbal will have to pay off the loan by weaving rugs for a wicked rug merchant. But Iqbal proves to be quite a handful for the moneylender who, believing him more trouble than he’s worth, sells him once again for a profit to an even more evil merchant. To the bogeyman. Because little Iqbal is a great rug weaver, a true artist. But Iqbal’s debt, instead of diminishing, only increases. And Iqbal comes to understand that his debt will never, ever be paid off. Understanding this, Iqbal rebels: when the European rug merchants arrive to admire the fantastic, unbelievably precious Blue Bangapur rug Iqbal has just finished weaving, he slices it to pieces with his knife. The boy is punished for his rebellion: locked up without food or water in an underground cave that is fetid and chokingly hot, from which few children have escaped without going insane or dying. But he resists, helped by his own willfulness and by his young factory companions who audaciously organize to bring him water and some crumbs of food (taken from their own rations), at great risk to themselves. Iqbal makes it. And once he’s released, he flees the factory, going to seek help for himself and his friends. But he winds up with corrupt police officers who bring him back to his “master” in exchange for money. With more help from his companions, Iqbal runs away again the first chance he gets. Now solidarity, friendship and assistance have become extremely strong, deeply rooted sentiments among the little group of children; their awareness that the debt can never be worked off, that the only way to win is to stick together, all for one and one for all, becomes their shared patrimony. Life in the factory has even started to feel a little like a game. Iqbal was simply the catalyst for a feeling that is almost impossible to eradicate in children: the desire to make their mark, to have fun, to grow, to be free, and an innate sense of justice. He fostered the rebirth in his little enslaved companions a desire to trust in someone and to share their stories, first by cultivating small autonomous spaces and playing, and ultimately (as is just), by rebelling. At heart, it is a story of the affirmation of collective rights, like at the beginning of the creation of work unions. First among all rights, the right to a childhood.
      This time Iqbal doesn’t go to the police, but knocks on the door of the headquarters of the Liberation Front for Child Laborers, the association that fights against those who enslave children. Iqbal finds new courage. For the first time he hears talk of new words like “children’s rights.” And thanks to the help of these new friends, a just judge and some policemen who are not corrupt, he frees his unfortunate friends. The bogeyman gets his in the end.
      This begins a new life experience for Iqbal. The news of what has happened spreads, and the boy becomes a symbol of liberty. Invited to the U.S. as a person who has made a name for himself in the fight against child labor, he speaks before the United Nations. The media broadcast his words across the globe. Like all symbols that have run up against powerful interests, he is removed by the most classic means, which are only hinted at in the film. Thanks to Iqbal’s rebellion and sacrifice, oppressed children all over the globe find courage they would otherwise have lacked and together, like in some great collective game, rebel against oppressors forever. From Asia to South America, from Africa to Europe, from North America to the Middle East, wherever there is oppression, exploitation, cruelty to children, children rebel and take to the streets.
      It is Easter 1995, April 16th: Iqbal’s day. The day of all Iqbals.
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