A remarkable new film called A CIAMBRA opens at the AFS Cinema this Friday.
Produced by Martin Scorsese and directed with assurance and improvisational flair by New York-based Italian American filmmaker Jonas Carpignano (MEDITERRANEA), it takes us into the lives of some pretty rough kids who hustle and scrap in the tough Southern Italian enclave of Gioia, in Calabria.
The hero of the piece, such as it stands, is a Romani boy named Pio Amato (he plays himself here), who has to grow up and become the man of the family at age 14. Since most of his coping mechanisms revolve around stealing and other petty crimes, he faces some serious challenges. It's thrilling and compelling viewing.
Recently Steven Saito of The Movable Feast talked to Carpignano about A CIAMBRA, how he cast the roles, and the specific skills needed to make a film without a traditional script, set in a high-crime milieu, and still have it emerge as one of the best movies of the year. The part about how he met the family that formed the backbone of his cast (when they stole his car) is priceless.