The eternal debate over nature versus nurture will no doubt rumble on until the final days of humankind, but it’s undeniable that both factors play crucial roles in shaping and determining where someone ends up. However, the path we choose is often determined by a number of large and small decisions we make over the course of our time on Earth. In A Chiara, one young woman finds herself at one such crossroads.
It is Giulia’s (Grecia Rotolo) 18th birthday. Claudio (Claudio Rotolo) and Carmela (Carmela Fumo) are throwing a big party and all the family are invited. Amongst them is 15-year-old Chiara (Swamy Rotolo), the younger sister, who has all the usual concerns for a girl her age. Sneaking out for a sly cigarette when no one is looking. It’s a close-knit and loving family. This all changes the next day when her father goes missing. Faced with a wall of silence, she’s determined to uncover the truth.
While the story of A Chiara is as old as the hills, the way writer/director Jonas Carpignano approaches the subject is captivating. Building on the themes of the wonderful A Ciambra, we witness events through adolescent eyes. Mixing blissed out neon hues with off-kilter cinematography, A Chiara does a great job of gradually building up a complex narrative. Affording it an almost dreamlike quality. The acting is superb, especially from Swamy, and the casting choices really work in its favour. A truly mesmerising coming-of-age crime story.
A Chiara is out in UK and Irish cinemas on 15 July and will screen exclusively on MUBI from 26 August.