by Camillo de Marco
- Youngsters in Naples and the Camorra. The widely noticed debut of a documentary filmmaker in the world of fiction. Fipresci Prize in Venice.
In Naples, a boy and a girl shut up in a gigantic abandoned building. He is her custodian, she is his prisoner. An entire day suspended in nothingness, during which the two children, far from an oppressing reality, oppose, measure, reflect and mirror each other. As they face each other, they get closer. They show each other who they are. In this indefinable space, teenage complexity in a ferocious and despotic suburb is revealed, along with the immeasurable strength of candidness and innocence. From the strangeness to the tyrannical logic of the world surrounding them.
The film’s scenes are almost entirely set in the 200,000 square metres of the ex Leonardo Bianchi psychiatric hospital in Naples, which was built in the nineteenth century and has been abandoned for years. The Interval [+see also:
interview: Leonardo Di Costanzo
film profile] is Leonardo Di Costanzo’s debut feature film. The director was trained in Jean Rouch’s Ateliers Varan, which up until now has been producing documentaries for an international festival audience. The film was written together with Mariangela Barbanente and Maurizio Braucci, one of the great Italian writers from the last few years, whose work has also been translated into French. He was the screenwriter for Gomorrah [+see also:
interview: Domenico Procacci
interview: Jean Labadie
interview: Matteo Garrone
film profile] and Reality [+see also:
interview: Matteo Garrone
film profile] by Matteo Garrone. Director of photography is the acclaimed Luca Bigazzi (Romanzo Criminale [+see also:
interview: Michele Placido
film profile], This Must Be the Place [+see also:
interview: Paolo Sorrentino
The interval from the title refers to the time that the two youngsters Veronica, 15, and Salvatore, 17, played by Francesca Riso and Alessio Gallo, have as they wait for the arrival of the neighbourhood boss (Carmine Paternoster). Veronica made the mistake of falling in love with a member of her neighbourhood’s rival clan, and now she must be punished. Salvatore, a fruit granita street vendor has been forced into being prison keeper until the evening. These two clumsy characters pushed into an adult world, will slowly let their young and dreamy selves come out. Salvatore wants to become a chef, and Veronica has the same aspirations of any girl her age. We see them explore and lose themselves in this enclosed space. They pretend they are on an island in the flooded basements of the building, as if they were castaways of reality. They dream of drifting towards Madagascar. The dialogue is thin, with the use of dialect necessitating subtitles. The two protagonists were found and trained through an improvisation workshop with the Naples Stabile Theatre aimed at youth from the Spanish quarters. Luca Bigazzi filmed them without any extra light, with a camera on his shoulder in order to adapt to the ways in which the actors spontaneously occupied space. The contrast between the light inside and outside was absorbed by using the super 16 millimetre format with a natural result, including long shots and great field depth.
With The Interval, Braucci wanted to write a story which would show the impossible lives these children lead. This is not a film on the camorra, nor is this a film on Naples. Rather, this is about every outskirt of every city. On one side, the daily annihilation of integrity, on the other, the resistance of the unprotected through the splendour of fantasy.
(Translated from Italian)
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