Chiara: review of Susanna Nicchiarelli’s film

Clear film 2022
Photo by Emanulea Scarpa © 2022 Vivo film, Tarantula

We all know St. Clare of Assisi, but we know very little about the 18-year-old girl who stripped off her noble clothes to “be with the humble”. With Clearthe director Susanna Nicchiarelli he continues his work on female figures who have lived alongside, or often in the shadows, of powerful men. Margherita Mazzucco (The brilliant friend) is the young woman Clearwhile Andrea Carpenzano (The Land of Enough, Calcinculo) is Saint Francis. The film was presented in Competition at the 79th Venice International Exhibition and it is a production Live movies with Rai Cinema And Tarantula.

The story of Clear of Assisi

After Nico, 1988 And Miss Marx, Susanna Nicchiarelli returns to tell of a woman capable of making history. In the early thirteenth century, a young noble girl named Clear (Margherita Mazzucco) runs away with a dear friend from the paternal home to follow in the footsteps of Francis (Andrea Carpenzano). Francis he founded an order of friars based on life in poverty that readily welcomes girls. Clearstripped of her noble clothes, however, will not have a simple life: the paternal oppositions, those of the pontificate and finally also the clashes with Francis, will hinder the girl’s desire to serve the people. On the other hand, let us remember, to experience all this is an eighteen-year-old woman of the thirteenth century.

Umbria protagonist

At the landscape level, the protagonist of the film is Umbria. The homeland not only of Santa Clearbut also of Nicchiarelli. The main location is the Church of San Pietro in Tuscania (setting of films such as Uccellacci and Uccellini), a large stone surrounded by greenery that is bright by day and distressing at night, but always believable. Finally, a note of merit goes to the convivial scenes: in Clear there is no shortage of banquets and, depending on the situation and the characters, they are rich, thin or exotic.

The musicality of Clear

Clear it is a film that travels back in time but that brings with it the present, especially in terms of sound. The language in which the characters speak is a vulgar dialect with Umbrian cadences, which alternates with the Latin of the lyrics and the French of the songs that pervade the scenes. The use of these three languages ​​collaborates to convey the atmosphere of the 13th century: Clear he spoke in the vernacular, he preached in the vernacular because it was the language of the people, a language distant from ecclesiastical Latin. Francis moreover he loved French, his name derives from that language, that of chanson.

The modernity of Clear it is not so much in the words used, as in the sound montage: although it is not a musical, in the film the characters dance and sing, interrupting the action and being pervaded by the music. In the film you can see the joyful traces of Jesus Christ Superstar like many other “secular” musicals. In this sense, we understand the director’s desire to make a film that can speak of the young people of that time – in 1211 Clear is an eighteen year old Francis she is only thirty years old – and at the same time able to communicate to today’s young people. The juxtapositions of action sequences and musical sequences may appear kitschy or inconsistent, but they denote a strong and recognizable directorial style that, of course, you may like or not like.

The Mazzucco – Carpenzano duo

The most beautiful scenes are those in which Clear And Francis they are side by side. The strength of the characters in the story is rendered by the powerful actor duo Mazzuccco And Carpenzano. She, an eighteen-year-old girl back from the hit series The brilliant friend. He, a promising actor of Italian independent cinema (especially with the Brothers D’Innocenzo).

The stone faces, the lost looks that have distinguished the characters previously played by the couple of actors, this time are adapted to the religious and pictorial scenario of Clear. Mazzucco And Carpenzano they know how to alternate spirituality and religious pathos with the typical feelings of young people: enthusiasm, idealism, the desire to change the world.

Chiara: review of Susanna Nicchiarelli’s film