“A Chiara” – The secrets of a family

As part of a trilogy, “A Chiara” is the most beautiful ending as it reignites the flame of Italian Neorealism. Still set in Gioia Taurola, Calabria, director and screenwriter Jonas Carpagnino’s new film follows the acclaimed ‘Mediterranea’ (2015) and ‘A Ciambra’ (2017) to follow the upheaval of a young girl who discovers that her family is connected to a criminal organization.

(A review by Eleo Billet)

Eighteen, the age of sanity and maturity. Chiara (Swamy Rotolo), fifteen years old, is still a long way off. The youngest of the Guerrasio family can only admire her sister Giulia (Greek roll) at his birthday party while hiding his independence impulses. But the girl is thrown into the rough world of adults earlier than she would like when her father Claudio (Claudio Roto) becomes a wanted fugitive after his human trafficking. Given the silence of her mother Carmela (Carmela Fumo), her sister or even her cousins, Chiara must explore the basics of her family on her own.

«A Chiara»
© Frenetic Films

The weight of secrets, of things left unsaid, causing people who have always loved and trusted to be torn apart. Here is a well-known theme of film dramas to which Jonas Carpagnino however, manages to breathe new life into it through its quasi-documentary approach and the learning story that it focuses on. After portraying the hostilities of migrants in an Italian village, then the youth of a Roma teenager in a microcosm, the director this time climbs the social ladder with the portrait of a bourgeois family but whose prosperity depends on illegal activities. Chiara’s future then depends on her ability to open her eyes to her privileges and where they come from.

Jonas Carpagnino passionately takes up a genre that made Italian cinema great…– Eleo ticket

Still in the neo-realist tradition, the cast consists entirely of amateur actors. This choice pays off: the links between the members of the Guerrasio family are made all the more touching by their credibility and the genuine affection that is transferred to the image. Moreover, the empathy experienced is only greater for these strangers, who seem to be interpreting their own roles in the first part of the work. The turbulence of everyday life, idyllic from the outside, shows the extent of the talent of the actors, especially Swamy Rotolo, who has nothing to envy to the theatrical range of experienced actresses.

«A Chiara»
© Frenetic Films

Confined like her family in a nerve prison, Chiara is characterized by adapting her body to her mind, being rebellious and constantly on the move. Every setting, from the bunkers to the foggy landscape, contrasts with his need for emancipation. The staging leaves the dramatic realism to turn to the fantastic in the case of acoustic hallucinations or painful dreams.

Still in the neo-realist tradition, the cast consists entirely of amateur actors…– Eleo ticket

Only when the veil is lifted over the father’s actions does the film and its heroine title lose their luster. Until then thoughtful and relying on verbal confrontation, also in the father-daughter confrontations with great accuracy, “A Chiara” embarks on a dangerous slope with excessive explanations and grotesque sequences in its long climax. However, the ending was enough in itself, like the tearing up of a young girl whose universe is collapsing, without needing an illustration.

«A Chiara»
© Frenetic Films

Despite excesses, the third feature film by Jonas Carpagnino passionately takes up a genre that has defined the greatness of Italian cinema. Through powerful interpretations and a classic story, it is given a universal dimension about the need to defy one’s family and wealth in order to understand one’s place in the world.

3.5/5 ★

April 13 in cinemas.

Learn more about A Chiara.


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