by Marcello Sannino
Parallelo 41 Produzioni, Bronx Film, Rai Cinema
Marcello Sannino, Guido Lombardi e Giorgio Caruso
Carmela is a thirty year-old, without a proper job – there are none and she's not looking. She gets by doing various day-to-day tasks. Her office is basically three steps on a narrow street adjacent to a street market in Naples. There are a lot of immigrants on this street, and her dealings often involve them. She has a ten-year old daughter called Maria. They live with Carmela’s mother Anna in a small house in a suburb town of Naples. They have a difficult relationship. Anna would have wanted a different life for her daughter – simpler and more grounded; as it is, Carmela is making the very same mistakes she herself did. Carmela hasn't been able to be a real mother for Maria, and the girl suffers because of this. A young Algerian called Tarek works in the phone centre across the road from the three steps. The kid likes Carmela and maybe fancies her. They occasionally exchange jokes. Maria is very irritable at school and her academic progress is not good: with a mostly absent mother and a father she has never met, the child has attracted the attention of the social services. For Carmela this is unjustified and dangerous interference. The permit scheme with the immigrants soon turns out to be a total scam in which both Carmela and the immigrants get swindled. Carmela then decides to run the scheme on her own account. Tarek asks her help in getting documents for two Pakistani friends who are coming. Meanwhile, realising she might lose her daughter, Carmela becomes aware of the importance of the mother-daughter relationship. This could be the chance for Carmela’s redemption, but things don’t turn out well. Maria is entrusted to social services and taken to a foster home. The only way Carmela can get Maria back is to get a job and a house. She’ll do whatever it takes to make this happen. But soon she will be sucked into a vortex that will force her to relinquish much of her pride. It’s evening. Rain is falling. Carmela crosses busy roads; everyone’s on their way home. She reaches a street closer to the outskirts. On the other side of the road is the building where the foster family's house is. She looks up at a window bathed in yellow light. To her left she sees a building covered with scaffolding for renovation works. She climbs up, her bag slung over her shoulder. When she reaches the third floor level of the scaffolding, she is soaked to the skin. Her tears are mixed with rain. She looks across the road into the window of the room: Her daughter Maria, sitting on the edge of her bed, is playing with her new girlfriend. She seems relaxed but somewhat sad looking. Suddenly, as if aware of being watched, she looks out the window. She looks at us.