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A Chiara, directed by Italy’s Jonas Carpignano, has won the Europa Cinemas Cannes Label prize for best European film as part of the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight section.
The win marks the second time for Carpignano after winning the Europa Cinemas Label in Cannes in 2017 with A Ciambra, which also screened as part of the Director’s Fortnight sidebar. A Chiara, starring Carmela Fumo, Claudio Rotolo and Swamy Rotolo, portrays the Guerrasio family and their friends celebrating the oldest daughter’s 18th birthday, while her 16-year-old sister Chiara goes beyond a sibling rivalry to start investigating her families ties to the local mafia.
“This story of the gradual empowerment of the young female character and her relationship with her father and her extended family is brilliantly structured and built. The casting of non-professionals in all of the roles works extremely well, and the imaginative sound design makes a big contribution to the appeal of the film,” the four-member Europa Cinemas Cannes Label jury said in a statement about A Chiara, which translates as “To Chiara.”
“Without in any way letting A Chiara become conventionally movie-ish, Carpignano deftly ratchets up the thriller factor as his protagonist takes flight and refuses to be intimidated by her uncles, forcing an intense confrontation in which her eyes are fully opened to the stark truths of the family business,” The Hollywood Reporter said in its Cannes review of A Chiara.
The drama completes a trilogy of films for Carpignano, whose first feature, Mediterranea, which screened in Cannes in 2015 as part of the Critics’ Week, and his second feature, A Ciambra, like A Chiara were all shot in the Calabrian town of Gioia Tauro, Italy.
A Chiara will now receive the support of the Europa Cinemas Network, with additional promotion and incentives for exhibitors to extend the film’s run in theaters. Sold internationally by MK2 Films, A Chiara is a Stayblack and Haut et Court production.
In other Cannes’ prize-giving, Belgian director Theo Degen’s L’Enfant Salamandre (The Salamander Child) took the top prize from the 24th Cinefondation student film competition.
The second prize went to Korean director Yoon Daewoen’s Cicada, and the third prize was shared by Romanian director Carina-Gabriela Dașoveanu for Prin Oras Circula Scurte Povesti de Dragoste (Love Stories on the Move) and Brazilian director Rodrigo Ribeyro for Cantateira.
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