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Laramie Movie Scope: A Chiara

Born into a crime family

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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January 15, 2022 – A teenage girl investigates her father's sudden disappearance in this effective crime family drama set in the Calabria region of southern Italy.

This is the third movie, the first two being “Mediterranea” and “A Ciambra,” in a Calabrian trilogy by writer-director Jonas Carpignano. I have not seen the first two films in the trilogy, and had not even heard of Calabria before seeing this movie.

This story is told from the point of view of 15-year-old Chiara (played by Swamy Rotolo). The film's cast is largely made up of the Rotolo family, with Claudio Rotolo playing Claudio (Chiara's father) Grecia Rotolo as Giulia (Chiara's 18-year-old sister) Giorgia Rotolo as Giorgia (Chiara's younger sister) Antonio Rotolo as Antonio, Vincenzo Rotolo as Enzo, Carmela Fumo as Carmela (Chira's mother) and Antonina Fumo as Nina (reportedly the Fumos are related to the Rotolos).

The film opens with a big party for Giulia's 18th birthday. On the surface, everything seems fine, but Chiara notices some intense discussions between her father and other members of her extended family, followed by her father's sudden departure in a car. Later, Chiara, spying on a late night urgent discussion between her parents, she sees her father leave by climbing over a wall near the house. Later, the family car outside the home explodes into flames.

She asks her mother what is going on, and her mother refuses to answer. Her sister seems to know what is going on, but she won't talk either. Chiara then sees a news report that her father is under criminal investigation for criminal activity related to organized crime.

Chiara begins skipping school, while actively trying to track down her missing father. She begins to follow one of her relatives, who seems to be running a Mafia-front business, believing that he might lead her to her father. He won't tell her anything, but he does seem to travel around a lot, perhaps collecting protection money from the locals.

When Chiara gets into trouble with the law, authorities begin the process of removing her from her home and moving her to another part of Italy, where she will be adopted by another family in order to get her away from criminal influences. She runs away from the authorities and hides out in one of her father's secret hiding places.

Chiara is forced to make a big decision. Will she stay with her father and become part of a crime family business, or will she allow the authorities to take her away from her family and friends, to a whole new life. Before she can make that decision, she needs to know just what her father does, and where the family's money comes from. She has a pretty good idea about this, but she wants to know in detail.

Chiara finally finds out what she wants to know, and she makes her decision. Three years later, at her own 18th birthday party, a friend gives a speech about how Chiara is now 18 and can make adult decisions for herself. This is ironic, because Chiara already did that when she was just 15 years old.

This is a taut, dramatic story that is well-acted and directed. It takes a while to get going, but it works its way into kind of a whodunit plot that works pretty well. Then it loses a bit of steam at the end with an epilogue scene that is a bit slow-moving, but it does make a nice bookend finish to the movie. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff (no extra charges apply). I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2022 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)

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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at dalek three zero one nine at gmail dot com [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]