In modern day Calabria, fifteen-year-old Chiara (Swamy Rotolo) is the middle daughter of Carmela (Fumo) and Claudio (Rotolo). Claudio is a loving father but reticent- a man who keeps secrets, including what he actually does for a living. Chiara adores him, but unlike her mother and sisters, is curious by nature. When Claudio abruptly disappears, it’s revealed he’s part of an organized crime syndicate. Rather than stay put and play dumb, Chiara goes on the hunt for her Dad — and the truth.
Firmly in the neo-realist tradition, director Carpignano uses an actual family of non-actors to animate this gripping film. His camera mostly stays trained on the title character, so we experience everything as she does. Just entering full-blown adolescence, Chiara’s hitherto safe world is suddenly turned upside down. Amidst all the trauma and turbulence, she’s determined to find out what’s really going on, though doing so could come at a steep price. Functioning as both a gritty thriller and coming-of-age drama, “A Chiara” grabs you and never lets you go.