A Chiara Review: A Gangster Story From a Different Perspective

Posted 2022/05/27 3 0

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A spirited Italian teenager discovers a secret heritage when her father suddenly disappears. A Chiara is not your typical gangster story. It’s told from an innocent perspective. The search for truth begins a transition to adulthood. Unconditional love can be blinding to obvious circumstances. Director/writer Jonas Carpignano’s final film of his trilogy set in a Calabrian town offers a somber coming-of-age journey. Taking control of your destiny requires strength of character. A Chiara reminds us that even the young make life-changing decisions.

15-year-old Chiara (Swamy Rotolo) has a rebellious and headstrong personality. She bullies a Roma (Gypsy) girl because of her looks. Chiara gets ready for her older sister, Guilia’s (Grecia Rotolo), eighteenth birthday party. They both play with the youngest, Giorgia (Giorgia Rotolo), as their parents, Carmela (Carmela Fumo) and Claudio (Claudio Rotolo), prepare the extravagant celebration. Chiara secretly smokes as her doting father dances with Guilia. She doesn’t pay attention to how her relatives defer to him, or his reluctance to speak openly and give a toast.

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After the party, Chiara hears her parents arguing. She watches her father leave in the middle of the night. His car then explodes spectacularly in front of the house. Carmela comforts her frightened children. Chiara wants to know what’s happening. Where did their father go? Is he being hunted? The mystery deepens the following day after a strange dream. Chiara resolves to find her father. She soon realizes that her relatives haven’t been honest. Another world has existed in their home without her knowledge.

A Chiara Among Mafia Films

Mafia films always have a festive scene where the men huddle together and machinate. A Chiara shows the outsider’s viewpoint. Chiara has a close relationship with her immediate and extended family. It never occurred to her that they were different. The fireball, Claudio’s disappearance, and everyone’s sealed lips are frustrating. Chiara chides her mother and older sister for holding back. She’s not a child. Their reluctance to talk increases her determination. Chiara’s impetuous nature forces her to act. Her investigation backfires with unforeseen consequences. There’s a reason why some things are left unspoken.

Jonas Carpignano (Mediterranea, A Ciambra) takes a slow-burn approach. The entire narrative is seen through Chiara’s eyes. The first act has her behaving like a normal teen. She’s focused on friends and social media. Claudio’s unexplained absence affects her profoundly. She adores her father. The idea that she may not really know him causes an existential crisis. The pace quickens with Chiara’s tenacity. The film’s simmering plot raises the temperature with each new revelation.

A Chiara’s Calabrian setting plays a major role in plot development. The winding alleys, steep paths, and stone steps of an ancient city mimic the protagonist’s odyssey. She encounters characters and places from the previous two films. Carpignano paints an immersive picture of a place pulsing with many arteries. Chiara learns to see her environment in a new light. She matures to a moment of clarity. Chiara can easily be ensnared in her father’s activities.

The labored beginning gets an adrenaline shot at the right time. It’s important to understand Chiara’s background and family dynamics before the plot picks up speed. She’s a sophisticated character with realistic growth. The film’s conclusion is well-done with a poetic sensibility.

A Chiara has Italian dialogue with English subtitles. It’s produced by Stayblack Productions, Haut et Court, RAI Cinema, Arte France Cinéma, Film i Väst, and Snowglobe. A Chiara will have a limited theatrical release on May 27th from NEON.


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