Dir.: Jonas Carpignano; Cast: Pio Amato, Koudous Seihon, Iolanda Amato, Damiano Amato, Rocco Amato; Italy/USA/France/Sweden 2017, 118 min.
Jonas Carpignano’s casts non professionals in this companion piece and follow-up to his debut Mediterranea, a lively all singing all dancing immigration drama that revolves around a family of Romas who live in an enclave of Gioia Tauro in Calabria, .
Voluble teenager Pio (Pio Amato) is the youngest in the family of jailbirds, idolising his brother Cosimo (Damiano Amato) who has already served time, as has his father Rocco (Rocco Amato), he mixes easily in the multi-cultural milieu of fellow Romas, local Italians and African refugees, and the rest of their clan are under house arrest. Mother Iolanda (Iolanda Amato) keeps the family together, and Pio is a afraid of her – but not enough to stop his various criminal activities. Pio’s only confidant is Ayiva from Burkino Faso, who lives in the African section of the town and is played by the only professional actor, Kudos Seihon. Pio’s loyalities are put to the test when he discovers his clan is planning a robbery at Ayiva’s “warehouse”; but he’s proud to be a Roma and keeps his mouth shut, respecting his brother’s words: “when you are in prison, you are respected, even by the Italians, but nobody respects the Africans”. Carpignano keeps his distance from his characters, never judging them and allowing their macho, misogyny full rein. That said, the clan live in abject poverty, crime clearly doesn’t pay for these canny immigrants. This approach works up to a point. Realism is fine, but it has to encompass more than one dimension. There are shades of The Dardenne Brothers in Tim Curtin’s handheld camerawork which follows each scenes through to the end, although the brothers take their narrative rigour from showing society as a whole, not indulging in the cul-de-sac actions of one section of the community. Overall, A Ciambra pulls out all the stops aesthetically, allowing the audience to enjoy the ride rather indulgently, and with a dangerous lack of reflection. AS
ON RELEASE FROM 18 JUNE 2018