Criticism of “A Chiara”, the closing of the Calabrian trilogy by Jonas Carpignano

Thursday, September 01, 2022

Jonas Carpignano uses non-professional actors throughout his trilogy (made up of independent stories), in this case it is the Rotolo family that represents local ties in a genuine way and with overwhelming realism, which turns his story into an accurate portrait and sordid of the Italian region.

To Chiara (2021) begins as an observational film that closely follows the life of a fifteen-year-old teenager (Swamy Rotolo) with her desires and fears, typical of the stage of life she is going through. But as the minutes go by, it turns into an intense thriller when she discovers that her father (Claudio Rotolo) belongs to the Ndrangheta criminal organization.

The film that participated in the Cannes festival is a masterful exercise in handling information and point of view. Because the history of the underworld is told from the innocent eyes of a pre-adolescent girl who has idealized her father. A naive look that breaks in the worst possible way.

Carpignano’s film has the narrative structure of a Coming-of-Age, that coming-of-age story in which a teenager discovers the world by changing his gaze. But this is not about first love or a counseling relationship with an elder. Quite the contrary, because To Chiara dynamite the girl’s bond with her father and there is no adult in the film who wants to provide any explanation requested by her.

The refusal of the adults to provide any information about the whereabouts of her father (a security fugitive after a failed attack that blew up the family vehicle) generates absolute anguish in the protagonist, transmitted directly to the viewer: we know the same as her and we don’t we have no emotional support for your disappointment. In this state of vulnerability Chiara undertakes a personal investigation full of dangers and silences.

The transition to the adult world is expressed in the film by the 18th birthday of her sister (Giulia Rotolo) when she is 15. This social and family event establishes the time course (from 15 to Chiara’s entry into adulthood). . Three suffocating years for the protagonist where she must acquire her own strength to face the cruel disappointments of her life. A story about the loss of innocence told in a way that is as heartbreaking as it is new.

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