Release Date – 20th January 2023, Cert – 12, Run-time – 1 hour 25 minutes, Director – Victoria Fiore
Following four years in the life of Entoni, grandson of worried grandmother Dora, who fears that he is heading towards a dangerous life of crime.
There’s a compelling draw within the conflicting familial nature of Victoria Fiore’s documentary feature debut, Nascondino (translated to Hide And Seek). We see grandmother Dora worry about the future of her nine-year-old grandson Entoni. He’s not just rebellious but is pitched as a wannabe mafia boss, seemingly hurting towards a future life of crime. Not only does this make his grandmother fear that his future will be one of destruction (particularly towards himself) but that he may be taken away from his family, after Italy passes a law saying that if there is a threat of children entering into crime then they will be moved away from their families.
Entoni makes for an interesting central focus throughout the four year course that the film covers in a very short 85 minutes. He’s clearly confident in himself and what he says, although it’s said that “your tongue is your biggest enemy” as often his outspokenness can be as potentially destructive as his actions in the cramped streets of Naples. The audience watches Entoni’s slight developments, and his family’s increased struggles and worries, over the years much like Fiore’s camera. Sat and observing the unfolding actions naturally play out, as if a camera isn’t present at all and you’re actually in the cluttered greyness of Entoni’s surroundings. It helps to bring you in and form a larger connection with the piece as a whole as the film, helped by the editing, simply allows the story to tell itself.
It’s a point that’s pushed through the fact that there are very few interview segments placed throughout. In fact, the only person we really properly hear the spoken-to-camera views of is Dora as she reflects on her own past, not wanting to see Entoni go through the same thing, despite appearing to be hurtling towards it. It’s echoed when he’s told “get your head straight… because sooner or later you’ll get your wings clipped”. An early threat thinly wrapped as advice that appears to go straight over the head of the young focus as he can’t wait to get away from the busyness of the cramped apartment he’s often confined to.
And yet, amongst everything that the film shows in terms of Entoni’s links to crime, and even increasingly high chances of being sent to prison, the film reminds us that he is still a child. There are brief moments of him simply sat down playing games, whether at home or in the streets. Exploring in his own way and wanting a sense of freedom. While sometimes this leans into his own view of freedom and the path he may be knowingly going down, there’s still an occasional sense and reminder that he is a child. It helps to stabilise things and bring about the seriousness of the situation that he finds himself in, and the threat he faces in regards to his future and the actions put in place that could take him away from his home and family. It forms an emotional level of intrigue from the audience to the piece and rounds off a wholly engaging nature to Fiore’s film. One which makes the most of your fascination with the central figure and naturally-occurring events that make up the short run-time. Forming a quiet, unforced connection between you and the piece and an overall compelling surprise.
Thanks to the way it largely allows its events to naturally play out Nascondino brings you in for a fantastically pieced together and compelling course by reminding you of both the seriousness of the situation that the central focus is in, and the fact that he is still very much a child.