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HIDE AND SEEK

MUCH MORE THAN A GAME IN THE BACK STREETS OF NAPLES

MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
LATEST REVIEWS
By Charlie David Page
1st August 2022

10 years ago, I visited Naples as part of a month-long exploration of Italy. While it’s hard to deny the beauty of the coastal area or the daunting spectacle of Pompeii, there’s one thing about the city that’s impossible to overlook from the moment I stepped off the train - the level of poverty that adorns its streets. I wandered about the Spanish Quarter after dark, ordering traditional dishes with my burgeoning language skills. Though proud of my ability to converse in Italian, I was a blatant tourist among these people whose life exists in one of the poorest neighbourhoods within one of Europe’s poorest cities. The documentary’ Hide and Seek’ (‘Nascondino’) takes us inside the Spanish Quarter with a young tour guide to examine the cyclical social problems that plague him and his family.

Entoni is aged just nine when we first meet him. He and his best friend Dylan are causing mischief on the streets of Naples; sporting matching leather jackets, they’re trying to get five euros from the owner of a mobile phone they’ve found. His mother says he’s never at home, and he always has to be surrounded by people. His father has been in prison since Entoni was three and his grandmother Dora was in and out of police custody for decades due to her rumoured mafia ties, while his grandfather died in jail at the age of 23. The government begins cracking down on families with ties to organised crime, with some juveniles perceived as troublesome sent to children’s homes. After an incident involving arson, Entoni is forced to face his actions and contemplate whether a future of confinement also awaits him.

'HIDE AND SEEK' TRAILER
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This isn’t heavy-handed prejudice through documentary making; we’re shown some of Entoni and his friends’ shenanigans, but it’s up to us to decide if his actions are beyond the behaviour of a regular child. As we witness the story of his family over the span of four years, it’s clear that they - like many of the families in similar situations - have been dealt a bad hand, and now rather than being offered assistance with that are being punished for it. This gravitas is juxtaposed with surreal moments of the mundane; Entoni and Dylan are at one point sitting inside the remnants of a former jail and discussing the best moments from their favourite movie, ‘Titanic’.

Its composition is stunning, with interviews captured like a drama and Naples lit by night in neons by night and splashed with summer sunlight by day.

While this is a fly-on-the-wall film, its cinematography is anything but. Directed by Victoria Fiore (in her feature debut) and lensed by Alfredo de Juan (‘The Spy Who Fell to Earth’), ‘Hide and Seek’ is shot in a style similar to a feature film; its composition is stunning, with interviews captured like a drama and Naples lit by night in neons by night and splashed with summer sunlight by day.

"People here sin every day. Only because we’ve got to survive - myself included," explains Dora of Naples’ Spanish Quarter. This neighbourhood is a tinderbox, and the questionable political approach being used to address it is only fanning the situation further. From the first frame of vision until the last title card, we know the fate of Entoni’s family. Until that approach changes, their future - and the future of so many other children affixed in the same situation - remains uncertain.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: TBA
RUN TIME: 01h 25m
DIRECTOR: Victoria Fiore
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