Recently premiering in Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival, Leonardo di Costanzo’s The Intruder follows his 2012 Venice Biennale award-winning debut The Interval. Despite being a relative newcomer to fiction filmmaking, the director’s ample experience as a documentarian has allowed him to craft a distinctive perspective on the world beyond the camera.
Giovanna, a combative social worker is confronted with a moral dilemma that threatens to ruin her work and her life. She runs an after-school centre that takes care of underprivileged children, an oasis of creativity and play amid brutalist surroundings, where safety concerns are a constant for many families. One day, young Maria and her two children take refuge at the centre, and ask Giovanna for protection. It soon emerges that Maria has been hiding her Camorra lieutenant husband on the premises. Giovanna freely admits she was deceived by Maria, but she refuses to eject Maria’s family when her husband is arrested, arguing that they have no visible means of support.
The Intruder is a thoughtful and persuasive study in the limitations of compassion and the hard-won nature of trust.