HAPPY AS LAZZARO
Simple-minded Lazzaro finds himself thrust into the center of a time-bending, saintly odyssey after he’s enlisted to stage a kidnapping by the rebellious son of an Italian tobacco tycoon.
Sun soaked and shot on Super 16MM film, writer/director Alice Rohrwacher’s follow-up to her award-winning THE WONDERS is a gorgeous, enchanting fable of a rural peasant working on a decrepit tobacco farm whose situation, and very existence, is a lie. In this Cannes Best Screenplay winner, simple, kind, and innocent Lazzaro is often the butt of jokes and recipient of the farm’s most unpleasant tasks. It isn’t long after the malevolent Marquise Alfonsino de Luna and family arrive that her son Tancredi, a self-proclaimed punk and the spoiled heir to the farm, exploits young Lazzaro’s goodwill and naivety. When Tancredi convinces Lazzaro to help fake the heir’s own kidnapping, the film takes a supernatural twist that reveals the bleak fate for farm Inviolata and beyond. Lead by cherubic newcomer Adriano Tardiolo, a wild ensemble of mostly non-actors ignites the film and lets Rohrwacher find humanity and humor around every clever turn. With each painfully affable “of course,” the endearing Lazzaro becomes a vessel for Rohrwacher to critique Italian society and become, like Bresson’s Balthazar before, a true cinematic saint.
CAST: Adriano Tardiolo, Agnese Graziani, Alba Rohrwacher, Luca Chikovani
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