Naples, the Camorra doesn’t make offers you can’t refuse, they just tell you
what to do and you do it. Therefore,
when a hard working but socially awkward teenager is instructed to detain one
of his more popular peers for a local crime boss, he reluctantly complies. The two spend an emotionally taxing day
together in Leonardo Di Costanzo’s The
screens as a selection of this year’s New Directors/New Films, co-presented by
MoMA and the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
is a husky kid who dropped out of school to help his father sell Italian ices
on the streets of Naples. Veronica is
also fifteen years old, but she dresses like an adult of dubious character. For reasons she fully understands but is
reluctant to share, Veronica has run afoul of Bernardino, the local head of his
Camorra clan. Eventually, Bernardino
will arrive to have it out with her, but until then Salvatore is to keep her in
an abandoned building near where his father stores their carts.
Interval is like the Gomorrah version of The Breakfast Club, with the Camorra filling the role of Assistant
Principal Dick Vernon. At first, Veronica
is snobbish and condescendingly, while Salvatore is sullen and resentful. Yet, they inevitably start to understand and
empathize with each other. Lessons will
be learned and bonds will be forged, if perhaps fleetingly.
almost entirely on location at long deserted mental hospital, Interval has a terrific sense of
place. One could easily imagine an
Italian remake of Grave Encounters being
shot there. Ambling through the labyrinthine
structure and the surrounding grounds helps pass the time for viewers and
characters alike, which is something.
Unfortunately, though they are perhaps only too true to life, Salvatore
is so thick-witted and inarticulate, while Veronica is so sexually precocious
it is difficult to heavily invest in their fates.
of a local youth acting workshop, co-leads Francesca Riso and Alessio Gallo are
quite professional and convincing, at least given development of their
respective characters. Still, we have
certainly seen their likes before.
Indeed, they are staples of John Hughes films, minus the Camorra
Interval is rather predictable, but for the most part,
its execution ranks above average. Nonetheless,
it falls short of the closing profundity it so clearly reaches for. An okay exercise in Italian Realism (with a
strong Neapolitan accent), The Interval screens
this Friday (3/29) at the Walter Reade and Sunday (3/31) at MoMA, as part of
Labels: Camorra, Italian Cinema, ND/NF '13