A Ciambra review – a powerful drama for our times

The story of a Roma boy and his relatives in a Calabrian slum offers an insightful view of the deep Italian south.

A Ciambra review – a powerful drama for our times

 

In cinemas from this week a powerful new film that plumbs the lower depths of the deep south. Italian-American Jonas Carpignano’s impressive and immersive drama A Ciambra is a sequel to his Mediterranea, whose Burkinabe protagonist Ayiva, played by Koudous Seihon is still trying to scrape an honest living in joyless Gioia Tauro in Calabria.

But this film truly belongs to the Romani family of petty thieves who inhabit the seething Ciambra slum, all played with utterly convincing bravura by members of the real Amato family, whose teenage son Pio, also from the previous film, ultimately betrays Ayiva when threatened by local crime bosses ‘the Italians’.

This is committed, passionate film-making and the revelation of a complex stew of neglected subcultures, particularly essential viewing given Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s disgraceful pledge this week to expel the country’s non-Italian Roma population.