DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema

Happy as Lazzaro (Lazzaro Felice)

Director - Alice Rohrwacher - 2018

"Filthy genius movie"
Superb Italian drama with strong religious connotations meditates on compassion, trust and selflessness, and receives rousing ovation in Cannes

QUICK SNAP: LIVE FROM CANNES

The young and angel-faced Lazzaro (Adriano Tardiolo) is the epitome of trustfulness, selflessness and altruism. He does anything anyone asks him without either questioning or becoming angry. He assists peasants, robbers and crooks without hesitation. He volunteers for the most arduous and absurd tasks on behalf of the most futile, greedy and least deserving human beings without blinking. But it isn’t just his personality that’s superhuman. His physical abilities are also extraordinary. He never gets tired and cold. Maybe he’s even immortal.

The story starts in the impoverished and aptly-named rural town of Inviolata (Italian for “inviolable”), where a group a group of peasants work as sharecroppers in conditions analogue to slavery for the pompous Marquise De La Luna and her son the eccentric Marquis De La Luna. The decrepit buildings and working conditions suggest that the town is in the South of Italy, although its exact location is never revealed. Lazzaro helps both the peasants and the bosses without drawing much attention to himself. He’s prepared to do anything for this people. He will offer his very blood is asked to do it.

Suddenly, De La Luna’s “great swindle” is uncovered. She’s arrested and the farm abandoned. The peasants move to the city in search of pastures green. Then the film moves forward several years. The actress Alba Rohrwacher, who happens to be the director’s elder sister, plays different characters at the different times. Everyone ages. Except for Lazzaro. He looks exactly the same; even his plain clothes remain unchanged. It’s as if he refused to age in protest of our futility as human beings, a little bit like in the German classic Tin Drum (Voelker Schloendorff, 1979).

The film contains a plethora of biblical references. The resurrection of Lazaro is most immediately recognisable one. There’s also a wolf, but here the canine doesn’t lick any wounds. There are many more references, which you may or may not identity. Fortunately for everyone, this is a movie so profound and universal that you will enjoy it even if you are not too familiar with the Holy Book.

Italian ladies are now firmly established of the forefront of Italian cinema. Check out our review of Laura Bispuri’s Daughter of Mine, which premiered earlier this year in Berlin and also stars the chameleonic Alba Rohrwacher. Both movies provide fascinating and realistic insight into the impoverished South of Italy. Roberto Rossellini would be extremely proud of these talented ladies.

Happy as Lazzaro has just premiered at the 71st Cannes International Film Festival. It received a rousing ovation and is s strong contender for the event’s top prize, the Palme d’Or.



"Filthy genius movie"

By Victor Fraga - 13-05-2018

By Victor Fraga - 13-05-2018

Victor Fraga is a Brazilian born and London-based writer with more than 15 ...

DMovies Poll

Should smoking in cinema be banned?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

The world is blithely unaware of the coup [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]
Perhaps no other 20th century artist has captured [Read More...]
Thousands of reviews, opinion pieces, YouTube videos, blog [Read More...]
Another year has gone by, and DMovies is [Read More...]
The British and the French have joined efforts! [Read More...]

Read More

Daughter of Mine (Figlia mia)

Laura Bispuri
2018

Victor Fraga - 18-02-2018

Tale of disputed motherhood set in impoverished and scorching hot coastal village of Sardinia has flavours of Italian Neorealism - live from the Berlinale [Read More...]

Tilting at windmills in Paris

 

Ian Schultz - 23-05-2018

Ian Schultz explains why THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE is Terry Gilliam's best film since BRAZIL, and that it was worth crossing the Channel overnight and by bus in order to watch it! [Read More...]

This is Congo

Daniel McCabe
2018

Victor Fraga - 23-05-2018

Nearly 60 years after its independence, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is still grappling with the most basic foundations of democracy, particularly on the Eastern border with Rwanda - doc is in cinemas Friday, May 25th [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *