There’s some interesting stuff going round about the Focus on Italy selection at the SFF. One rumour has it that the films were all rejected by Palace for its Italian Film Festival, one of those behemoth events involving hundreds of screenings round Australia that the commercial chain specialises in. Who knows. Whatever…
In brief it’s a tale of Roma people living in a desiccated slum, called Ciambra, outside some unknown Calabrian town. It wont enhance the Roma's reputation for here they eke out livings mostly on the wrong side of the law. Occasionally the police intervene but mostly they are allowed to keep to themselves.
One among them is the 14 y-o Pio, already drinking, smoking and street smart. His trick of stealing luggage makes you want to ensure you never entrust your bags to those open racks they have at the end of the carriage in Italian trains. Pio suddenly has responsibility foisted on him when his brother and father are both arrested and imprisoned. He has work to do and calls on an older African friend to help. Which is the nub of the movie because eventually family loyalty wins out and Pio betrays his friend.
|Pio Amato, A Ciambra|
Most of the ‘actors’ play versions of themselves and that’s quite a trick that director Jonas Carpignano has pulled off.
I wonder if it indeed started life as a doco until footage was screened at film labs and workshops and the likes of Martin Scorsese climbed on board as an Executive Producer and its ambitions expanded. That was smart if it's what happened.