Posted in: Movies, Tattle

A Chiara review – a teenage girl takes on the Italian mob in tense coming-of-ager

Film-maker Jonas Carpignano continues his ’Ndrangheta mafia series with a drama where crime tests the bonds of a close-knit Calabrian family

The idea of a teenage girl discovering her father is in the mob gave us one of the great moments in television history, when Meadow in The Sopranos asked her dad Tony: “Are you in the mafia?” Now the Italian film-maker Jonas Carpignano has made this the central plank in this gripping and unnerving drama, effectively the third in his neo-neorealist “Calabrian” movies, after Mediterranea in 2015 and A Ciambra two years later. Both of these films used non-professionals from the region, and now Carpignano is audaciously bringing back minor personae from A Ciambra and putting them in the spotlight.

Swamy Rotolo, played Chiara Guerrasio in the earlier film and this new one, effectively gives us her terrifying and even tragic coming-of-age story, with her own family playing clan members. Chiara starts the film aged 15, attending her sister’s 18th birthday party: the film ends, enigmatically, with a flashforward coda episode showing Chiara’s own 18th. It is at the first party that young, innocent Chiara witnesses disturbing violence outside in the street: her dad, Claudio (Claudio Rotolo), has his car torched and he disappears.

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