Release Date - 20th January, Cert - TBC, Run-time - 1 hour 25 minutes, Director - Victoria Fiore

Following four years in the life of Entoni, whose grandmother worries that he’s headed for a life of crime.

Each year at the London Film Festival I’ve come to look forward to the documentary I know nothing about but am truly struck by. Nascondino, which showed at the 2021 festival, is one of the reasons for this. A truly compelling piece of work which allows its stories and events to naturally pan out with director Victoria Fiore’s camera acting as an equally natural observer.

We largely follow nine-year-old Entoni, a rebellious child with all the markings of a wannabe mafia boss. His grandmother Dora, providing the only interviews seen and heard in the film, narrates with her worries about her grandson. Not just of the dangerous life that he’s heading towards but the fact that he may be taken away from his family, after Italy passes a law stating that if a child is deemed to be at risk of entering a life of crime they will be removed from their home.

“Get your head straight... because sooner or later you’ll get your wings clipped” Entoni is told, a phrase echoing throughout the film. Yet, his confidence in himself rides over this deadly serious advice. However, despite the way he presents himself we are constantly reminded that Entoni is still a child. One who craves freedom within the cramped streets of Naples. It’s mentioned that “happiness is a feeling of freedom”, but what kind of freedom, where does it come from and, more importantly, where will it lead?

We follow the progression of the central figure over the course of four years. Captivated by the film’s natural progression of events, largely helped by the fantastically subtle editing which creates a fluid story within the documentary format. One which leans into genre elements creating further interest in the figures that we see on screen - connecting us with the fear a grandmother has for her grandson. There’s a truly serious situation depicted, one which while bordering on helplessness never falls into it, and the film doesn’t shy away from depicting it.

Nascondino’s translated title is Hide And Seek. It’s a title which can potentially have multiple meanings and the documentary captures a number of them within its short 85-minute run-time. There’s plenty covered while never feeling like too much is happening - again testament to the way in which the film is edited. It allows for a unforced connection to be formed between you and the subject matter, further engaging and compelling you for full effect.

Victoria Fiore has crafted an excellent piece of fluid storytelling with this deeply investing documentary. One which works quietly with the viewer in the background as it naturally views the life of its outspoken central figure, alongside the clear threat posed to him; alongside his family’s subsequent fear. A personal story washed over the streets of Naples that’s sure to stay with you.

Four stars