Luna Park, family drama from Italy

Olivia Castanho in Luna Park

Luna Park is a Netflix series, a 6 part drama from Italy. I assume there will be more of this series, because the first season ends on a cliffhanger that leaves everything building up to it unresolved.

Luna Park is the name of a carnival located in Rome. The series is set is in the 1960s with carnival acts, clothing, cars, and American 60s pop music creating the atmosphere and tone.

The opening scene is a woman sunbathing by a pool, a butterfly tattoo on her back. Tattoos were unusual on women in those days so it is remarkable. The woman is Nora (Olivia Castanho). Her family runs the carnival.

Into Nora’s tarot card reading tent at Luna Park comes Rosa (Lia Grieco). Rosa asks questions about her missing twin sister. The sister has been missing since age 18 months. The sister had a butterfly shaped birthmark on her back. Step right up, because if you guessed these two women are twin sisters you win a teddy bear of your choice.

Milvia Marigliano in Luna Park
Grandmother knows all the secrets

Nora was raised by her grandmother (Milvia Marigliano) and her father, Antonio (Tommaso Ragno). The park and the land it stands on belong to Antonio. He has plans to expand. He does not know that Nora isn’t really his daughter. The grandmother knows the whole story, but she’s keeping the secrets well hidden.

Rosa was raised by her parents, Lucia (Fabrizia Sacchi) and Tullio (Paolo Calabresi). They are rich. Lucia still grieves over her missing daughter. Giggi (Guglielmo Poggi) is Rosa’s younger brother. Giggi is just embarking on a career as an actor.

When Nora begins investigating the strange girl and the story about the butterfly shaped birth mark, she soon guesses that she might be Rosa’s twin. Slowly she approaches Rosa and the family to try to determine if her suspicions are true.

Lia Grieco in Luna Park
The sisters accept the truth first

The sisters connect with each other and the truth quickly. Many more dramatic and dangerous events must happen before everyone else learns what is going on and what it might mean. The truth is slow to come out.

While this is ongoing, several subplots take place. Rosa has a boyfriend named Matteo (sorry, I can’t find this actor’s name anywhere). Rosa’s friend, a photographer named Simone (Alessio Lapice) falls for Nora. Simone and Nora photograph a famous actor named Sandro (Giulio Corso) doing something very, very bad. Just knowing it could get them killed. Giggi befriends Sandro, making things even more complicated.

Antonio’s brother Ettore (Mario Sgueglia) makes a shady deal with some gangsters to get money for Antonio to be able to build a new attraction at the park. That causes lots of problems.

The series is busy with subplots, but the basic drama of the fractured family is the heart of the story. There are flashbacks to WWII when the twins were separated and when the situation in Italy was very hard. Themes about what family is, about class divides, and about protecting secrets are explored.

It would be nice to know how this complicated story ended, but without a second season we’re left in midair. I’ll be watching Netflix for news of a second season. If you watch this Italian drama, I’m sure you will too.

Luna Park poster

See what you think of the trailer.

Want to practice your Italian and give this series a chance?

4 thoughts on “Luna Park, family drama from Italy”

  1. Agree with everything said here BUT I cannot, just cannot, understand why the soundtrack includes many many modern American and English songs. It ruins the whole experience for me. Seriously, what drugs were they on to think those songs fitted with the time or the mood of 1960s Italy??

      1. I was trying to find a place to comment on this exact same thing. The atmospheric tracks they chose for just fine. However, Whoever they hired that made the pop music choices should’ve been fired. It’s incredibly jarring to be experiencing a foreign piece set in a specific time period to be shocked into hearing music from the 2010s. The 21st century pop is wildly out of place and a stain on the filmmaking – which I must compliment as having very visually pleasing color palette and set design. But someone has to grab this series and re-edit the soundtrack choices. If 1960s American pop took its place that would at least be acceptable, but I can think of plenty of other Italian hits from the same era.

  2. I can’t find anywhere if the actor who plays Antonio also plays young Antonio in the flashback? If it’s the same actor good for him because he looks great!

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