An innocent look on Gomorrah
by Camillo de Marco
- Leonardo Di Costanzo has decided to direct his first work of fiction, The Interval, because "Naples is too seducing and bawdy. She has won and I am now no longer able to film documentaries"
A well-established documentary maker trained by the Ateliers Varan in Paris, Leonardo Di Costanzo decided to direct his first piece of fiction The Interval [+see also:
interview: Leonardo Di Costanzo
film profile] because "Naples is too seducing and bawdy, she has won. I can now no longer make documentaries." Di Costanzo however has kept up his documentary approach to filming, bringing a sensitive and corporal touch which has moved Venice audiences and critics alike. The film was produced by Tempesta and Rai Cinema with Amka films. The Interval has just come out in Italian cinemas nationwide and is being distributed by Cinecittà Luce.
Cineuropa: The film was written with Mariangela Barbanente and Maurizio Braucci, who is the screenwriter for Gomorrah by Matteo Garrone...
Leonardo di Costanzo: The idea behind The Interval was born together with Gomorrah [+see also:
interview: Domenico Procacci
interview: Jean Labadie
interview: Matteo Garrone
film profile], when the wars between camorra gangs were leaving one person a day dead in Naples. But they are two different films. Their take on the camorra is different. Saviano and Garrone’s film denounce the reality of it, while we want to reflect on its mentality, its rites and its values, which in some neighborhoods of Naples have deep roots. They go back to the traditions of patriarchy.
Why did you choose two adolescents as your main roles?
Everyday reporting unfortunately still today relates very similar cases. What I tried to do was to understand the reasons behind a certain choice. It seemed right to me to be telling the story of a poorly defined age, where mentality is still being carved. It is the moment when you gear yourself up to either choose one road or another. I also decided to film teenagers because they enabled me to understand the camorra’s perspective, to observe it as a system of values shared around the neighborhood.
How did you choose your protagonists, who are non professional actors?
To find the two main actors, we saw two hundred youngsters from the Spanish neighborhood in Naples. We then got them down to ten. With those, we opened an improvisation studio for three months at the Mercadante theatre in Naples. Once we had made our choice, we adapted the text to their sensitivity, letting them move whichever way they thought best. We filmed for five weeks, seventeen thousand meters of film.
The entire story takes place inside an abandoned building, an ex psychiatric hospital in Capodichino, a popular Naples neighborhood.
I didn’t want to be distracted by the outside world. That location helped me enter the internal world of these teenagers.
And the insight remains one of a documentary filmmaker.
I wanted to start a new phase. I felt I had come to the end of one journey, even if I still had the thoughts of a documentary maker. I wanted to take a walk in an imaginary world.