This is the tale of a meeting between Lazzaro, a young peasant so good that he is often mistaken for simple-minded, and Tancredi, a young nobleman cursed by his imagination. Life in their isolated pastoral village Inviolata is dominated by the terrible Marchesa Alfonsina de Luna, the queen of cigarettes. A loyal bond is sealed when Tancredi asks Lazzaro to help him orchestrate his own kidnapping. This strange and improbable alliance is a revelation for Lazzaro. A friendship so precious that it will travel in time and transport Lazzaro in search of Tancredi. His first time in the big city, Lazzaro is like a fragment of the past lost in the modern world.
Lazzaro Felice is an experiment with the genre of the fable, with all its inconsistencies, its mysteries, its recurrences and its heroes and villains. See more »
Marchesa Alfonsina De Luna:
He who knows himself well is humbled in his own presence. And the praise of other men provokes no pleasure. If I were to know everything in the universe and scorned the charity who would bring me the grace of God? Who would judge my actions? One should go beyond the thirst for knowledge that is the root of distraction and disappointment.
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Rohrwacher's fantastic fable about the Wolf at the door
Loosely inspired by a true story of Italian farmers who were forced into near sharecropper conditions by the De Luna family in an isolated village, Alice Rohrwacher's HAPPY AS LAZZARO takes a fantastical approach to the material. The early scenes of the workers toiling to get by in the hamlet is, like Rohrwacher's previous THE WONDERS (bee farmers), full of attention to detail - both visually and aurally (the sounds of the wind and the distant howls of wild animals become their own soundtrack).
The screenplay (a winner at Cannes) becomes a fable as it moves along. The peasants eventually settle into the city - but, their lives at the bottom of the run continue. A hearty band, led by Antonia (a superb Alba Rohrwacher, the Director's sister) struggles to survive in the modern world. As fate would have it, they cross paths with the remnants of the De Luna clan. Throughout all this, is Lazzaro (Adriano Tardiolo). A sort of benighted Forrest Gump figure, Lazzaro drifts among the characters blissfully unaware of the darkness around him.
Rohrwacher's fantasy elements (THE WONDERS also had a few), gives the film (shot on 16mm) a different perspective. The symbolism doesn't always fully connect, but, you never doubt that her vision isn't firmly conceived. One thought becomes clear and lingers in the mind: The wolf may be at the door, but, who is the wolf?
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