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Happy as Lazzaro

Alice Rohrwacher
Lazzaro felice
Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany 2018 / 125’
Everybody Knows Nina

An award winner at Cannes for best screenplay, this film is by the director of the acclaimed The Wonders, which New Horizons audiences will certainly be familiar with. The eponymous Lazzaro is a resident of an impoverished Sicilian village-forsaken both by God and by people-that is being mercilessly exploited by the Baroness Alfonsina De Luna and her steward. Unfamiliar with irony, vice or falsehood, the young Lazzaro is the incarnation of the goodness, but everyone takes him for a nitwit. So, when he offers shelter, out of kindness, to the bored son of an aristocrat (Luca Chikovani in the role of Tancredi), the latter decides, just for fun, to take advantage of the peasant's naivety. Alice Rohrwacher's fairy tale about a godly simpleton (lent angelic beauty and a giant heart by amateur actor Adriano Tardiolo) is reminiscent of the works of Visconti and Pasolini, as well as Chaplin's Tramp. With the lightheartedness and humor of a folk parable, Rohrwacher's film deals with the issues of modern slavery and class contempt, as well as the capitalist machine grinding down the weakest. But it also about the duty of cinema, which, at its best, looks at the world from the perspective of the wounded and the downtrodden.

Małgorzata Sadowska

Alice Rohrwacher

Born in 1982, Alice Rohrwacher is a director and screenwriter from an Italian-German family. She studied Philosophy and Literature in Turin and completed a screenwriting course at Turin's Scuola Holden. She made her debut in 2011 with Corpo Celeste, which was shown in the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs section at Cannes. Her autobiographical The Wonders (2014), set in the Italian provinces, competed in the festival's main competition and won the Special Jury Award. Happy as Lazzaro (2018) also premiered in the competition at the Cannes Festival. This time, the production team left the French Riviera with a prize for the best screenplay. The director is the sister of actress Alba Rohrwacher.

Filmography

2011 Ciało niebieskie / Corpo celeste / Heavenly Body

2014 Cuda / Le meraviglie / The Wonders

2018 Szczęśliwy Lazzaro / Lazzaro Felice / Happy as Lazzaro

Cast & Crew

director Alice Rohrwacher
screenplay Alice Rohrwacher
cinematography Hélène Louvart
editing Nelly Quettier
music Piero Crucitti
cast Adriano Tardiolo, Alba Rohrwacher, Luca Chikovani, Nicoletta Braschi
producer Carlo Cresto-Dina, Gregory Gajos, Pierre-Francois Piet, Tiziana Soudani, Michael Weber
production Tempesta, Amka Film Productions, Ad Vitam Production, Pola Pandora Filmproduktions
Polish distributor Aurora Films
language Italian
colouration colour