Oct 022013

When local lemon ice seller Salvatore, or Toto as he is nicknamed, is “asked” by the local mobsters to watch over Veronica for the day, he isn’t particularly pleased, but he doesn’t really a choice. What has this Veronica done? And why the need to lock both of them in a dilapidated warehouse? My review of The Interval (L’intervallo) after the jump.

Toto (Alessio Gallo) is a quiet, rather sullen looking young man who spends his summer days selling lemon ices from a cart on the hot streets in a run-down area of Naples. On a day, just like any other, he sets out to sell his lemon ices only to be confronted by the local Camorra (mob) and forcibly recruited to babysit 15-year-old Veronica (Francesca Riso) for the day. The pair have been locked inside the grounds of a massive abandoned warehouse, where they are supposed to wait – but for what and for how long? That’s uncertain.

As the day stretches on the pair slowly communicate more. At first they are hostile, but the lack of anything to do eventually results in a more open banter between the two. As they learn more about each other, we (the audience) get a better idea about why they are there and come to understand the considerable control that the Camorra have over the streets and those who inhabit the area. The performances from the pair is impressive, especially considering this is both Riso and Gallo’s début film roles. Riso is especially effective, giving a reserved performance as the quiet boy who seems to be used to getting the short end of the stick in life.

The pair may spend the day confined into one area, but what a place it is. Filmed on location at an abandoned metal institution, the setting is just as much a character in the story as Toto and Veronica are. The building seems to stretch endlessly, with hidden rooms, boarded off passages, crumbling balconies and a jungle-like garden, among its unique features. Watching the pair explore is just as interesting (possibly even more so) as slowly piecing together the reason for their unusual meeting is. The film is shot beautifully on 16mm by director of photography, Luca Bigazzi (This Must Be the Place, Certified Copy), who really brings the setting to life. The Interval is the kind of lush, rich looking film, that is worth making the effort to see on the big screen.

The Interval/L’intervallo is playing as part of the 2013 Lavazza Italian Film Festival in Australia. For information about screening times and other festival information, visit: http://www.italianfilmfestival.com.au/


By Sam McCosh

The Facts

Director: Leonardo di Costanzo
Writer(s): Leonardo di Costanzo, Mariangela Barbanente, Maurizio Braucci
Starring: Salvatore Ruocco, Francesca Riso, Alessio Gallo
Runtime: 90 minutes