Published Sep 10, 2012In set up, there's very little to The Interval. Mimmo (Salvatore Ruocco), a 17-year-old that earns money with a beverage cart, is tasked with watching over the petulant, younger Veronica (Francesca Riso) in an abandoned, locked, mammoth compound for an undefined amount of time.
His involvement is clearly outlined as a forced favour, wherein his ice lemon cart is being held as motivation by a criminal element (of sorts) to comply, while Veronica's plight is merely that of unofficial imprisonment for crimes unmentioned.
As the pair initially bicker and play inevitable trust games, the question of what this film is trying to say, or why it even exists, arises repetitively. What's more is that their conversations aren't even guided by a thematic trajectory to imply something philosophical, political, cultural or even emotional. They're simply two bland teenagers stuck in a rat-infested building, occasionally running around and peeing in weird places. But both performances are well-calculated and consistent, and the actual direction is far too polished and distinct for there not to be a point.
As things progress, Veronica starts to reveal her inner-character and backstory to Mimmo, which in turn grows into a sharp criticism about the underground power structure in modern Italian society. The pair are merely proprietary items for gangs dominant in the area, punished only for geographic specificity and unruly independent thought.
More than merely critiquing fringe Italian culture with mild theological context, the greater didactic and power struggles between ruling and worker classes comes into question as the climax of the film approaches. With something to think about alongside the unnerving, rising tension, the initial tedium of the seemingly trite setup fades away, leaving something intriguing, albeit lacklustre, to contemplate after the credits roll. (Rai Trade)