MeThe winding streets of Naples’ infamous Spanish Quarter are plagued by gang violence and a cycle of incarceration continues. A mischievous and charismatic force of nature who likes to get into trouble, Entoni angers his grandmother Dora and his mother Natalia. Victoria Fiore’s stunning documentary follows him growing up over the course of his four years, and witnesses how his adolescent rebellion leads him to be incarcerated into a reform facility and later a youth prison. I’m here.
Fiore adds a poetic element to Entoni’s portrayal of everyday life, instead of the realist style often employed in social issue documentaries. It beautifully evokes the fun of summer swimming or just hanging out with your best friend. As the government cracks down on crime, the fleeting moments of these experiences become heartbreaking when Entoni, charged with setting a car on fire, is sent to a home for troubled children.
This series of events demonstrates the state’s failure to provide meaningful assistance to disadvantaged youth. Not only has his grandmother been in and out of prison, but his father is in prison as well. The act of criminalizing Entoni’s actions only perpetuates a lack of social mobility.
Similar to the opening scene in which Entoni and the other neighborhood kids build a pile of Christmas trees and set them on fire, Hide and Seek ends with his younger brother Gaetano joining the unruly tradition. Gaetano plans to open the police file soon, but Entoni remains in prison for his attempted breakout. Hide and Seek’s penchant for the occasional re-enactment is somewhat troubling, but its depiction of intergenerational trauma as a sign of government failure is particularly noteworthy.