Hide and Seek (Nascondino) | Movie review
A raw and honest tale of innocence and adolescence in a dangerous world for children, documentary Hide and Seek (Nascondino) follows four years in the life of scugnizzo street child Entoni and his grandmother, Dora, when the city of Naples is beginning to crackdown on gangs and crime families. Entoni’s life is at a crossroads: with his father gone may years before and no replacement figure present to guide his moral compass, he roams the streets with his friends as crime continues around him. Enticed by the lifestyle and his naughty pre-teen nature, he becomes a more dangerous tool the older he becomes.
With Hide and Seek, Italian director Victoria Fiore presents an interesting balancing act between the freedoms of youth and the responsibilities of life. The streets can be a fun place to be as a child, but they also come with danger. We get to see the boys grow and likewise witness the swelling jeopardy and inevitability that surrounds them.
What is made all the more painful is the reminder that we are watching a documentary, with it being so easy to get immersed in Entoni’s relationships and interactions. He is a kid with dreams and aspirations and it becomes desperately sad to see his prospects begin to wither away. Despite his attitude, one roots for the charismatic boy throughout in the hope that he may find the path to a better life.
Hide and Seek is a striking documentary and feat that can be compared to very little. Such hard work and perseverance over such a sustained period of time must not go without praise, and even with the time jumps, the fluidity of the storytelling works well. Most of the recognition for this project coming to fruition will be down to the allure and dominance of Entoni, who has a truly electric presence on screen. However, it is nice to get differing perspectives throughout, really witnessing the contrast in outlooks of the boy and his grandmother, who most of the time remains faintly visible through her cigarettes.
It is painful, albeit inevitable, to see the movie’s conclusion and hear more about Entoni’s life after filming. It must have been a difficult experience for the team behind the camera to follow this journey, but their efforts are the viewer’s gain, with scorching cinematography bringing this already very real story to life. Hide and Seek is a project that has evolved from Fiore’s 2017 short film titled Fire Games of Naples, and the original feeling still lives, breathes and burns in this feature-length piece. It will be exciting to see where Fiore will turn her gaze next.
Hide and Seek (Nascondino) is released in select cinemas on 20th January 2023.
Watch the trailer for Hide and Seek (Nascondino) here: