Part of a large family, Pio Amato is only 14, but he drinks and smokes, and knows his way around the factions of the region. He’s equally comfortable amongst the local Italians, African refugees and the Romani. And Pio is also adept at running little scams, moving goods around and making a bit of cash. This comes in especially useful when his father and brother are jailed, but it also prompts Pio to believe that he is ready for manhood, leading to a terrible dilemma. Director Jonas Carpignano has worked with this community in his previous films, and in A Ciambra he has made a vibrant and immersive film, that attracted Martin Scorsese to executive produce.
The film, named for the battered apartment complex where Pio lives, provides fresh evidence of the continued vitality of the neorealist impulse as it tries to embed a fictional narrative in the actual world. It has the shape of a fable and the texture of a documentary. – A.O. Scott, The New York Times
A raw and distinctive coming-of-age portrait. – David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter