Happy as Lazzaro (2018) Poster

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A Masterpiece!
heryzanya1 December 2018
What is wrong with us? Where is innocence and compassion? Is there any good left in this world? Lazzaro represents the incarnation of kindness itself. It is hearthbreaking to see that "Lazzaros" have very little space in this world, and that they are mostly not welcome. This movie will touch deeply the people who are still able to cry when confronted with all the atrocities, and injustices we commit to each other day by day. Most of all, it will touch whoever feels the need to improve in terms of humanity, sensibility and compassion even knowing that greater and darker forces overwhelm mankind.

I deeply recommend everyone this experience.
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A good one!
oohlala-216276 December 2018
Lazzaro is a symbolic character in this Film. With the eyes of an innocent, kindhearted child he connects two worlds-two parts of the story. Lives of enslaves tabaco growers are difficult, manual labor is hard, food is scarce and living arrangements are appalling. Yet, their lives are socially structured, they maintain cultural traditions, live in a beautiful natural environment, eat " real" bread, drink real wine, take care of each other and maintain good spirit. What happens next is heart wrenching, but reflective of today's reality. Good intention pave a road to hell they say. Chips for a meal anyone?
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Rohrwacher's fantastic fable about the Wolf at the door
gortx4 December 2018
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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Happy as Lazzaro Review
vladimir-janic16 July 2018
Watched the film at the Palic Film Festival few days ago and i'm still under its influence. Happy as Lazzaro is shot on Super 16mm, lending the film a grainy look that evokes warmth and nostalgia. Wonderful film that wraps its hands around you and with its unusual exotic atmosphere doesn't let go till the end. The acting is briilliant, especially from Adriano Tardiolo, extremley talented actor, hope to see him more in the future. Alice Rohrwacher made a masterpiece and without spoiling anything, I deeply recommend you to see it.
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Homo Homini Lupus?
ognjen-janic17 July 2018
Tender, poetic, philosophical, allegorical tale of control and exploitation and funnily enough the picture of the absurd yet the-truest-that-I've-ever-seen state of contentment. The sheer atrocities of manipulation and shameless discrimination of the fellow earthlings is heart-wrenching and tough to watch yet the poetic whiff that imbues it draws an overwhelming feeling of self-realization and utter admiration and gratitude towards the author of this Film-classic that questions the destiny of innocence in the Contemporary world.
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chris-arrieta9 December 2018
Literally transcendent. An innocent soul transcends time. I imagined this was Jesus Christ in his time. Meek, empathetic, poor, but so rich. Richer than the rich.
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Personification of Kindness and Happiness?
iquine17 January 2020
Warning: Spoilers
(Flash Review)

The film's message is difficult to tease it out as the credits rolled. Upon reflection and digesting the meaty symbolism, one could presume the film's message is spreading kindness is a moral goal to strive for as there is a sever lack of it in today's world. It contrasted peasant sharecroppers in their beautiful, natural environment with the cold, dingy and cement city atmosphere. As the film opens, you wander through a group of farmhands living in terrible conditions working the land for meager scraps. A young boy, Lazzaro, is one of them who is too nice, arguably naïve, and does whatever anyone tells him to do. Then one day he has an accident and apparently when he awakens it appears to be 40 years later yet he hasn't aged. This is where Lazzaro could possibly be just a symbolic metaphor for kindness as wherever he goes, people are happier. There really isn't a defined plot, you just follow Lazzaro and the people in his circle in the past and future times. What is the meaning of this young man named Lazzaro? This film had interesting rough picture frame edges of the literal frame and used well-composed minimal shot framing of rural nature that at least pleased the eye during this slow and contemplative story. This is not for everyone.
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Mesmerizing and original
Red_Identity3 December 2018
This was not at all what I expected, and I say that as huge praise. For a film to be able to surprise the way this does is a real achievement.
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the temptation to describe it
Kirpianuscus3 August 2019
...is the basic sin. You can say - it is well crafted or beautiful, a gem or a masterpiece, a story about innocence or a moving film. And it is it. But , after its end, you feel more than what may be described. The cinematography, the acting, the story each works, in admirable way. But it is an embroidery of states of soul. All is perfect but not for define. The magic, the slice of fairy tale, the crumbs of social portrait - yes, but what is gived is more.And remains a lovely secret, so personal.
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The Tale of Inviolata
smithpaulusmc12 November 2018
There are some in our lives that exist beyond the scope of time or universally accepted countenance, those like Lazzaro who bear the kindness of a child and the internal strength of an ox. In Alice Rohrwacher junior film Lazzaro Felice (Happy as Lazzaro), the title character develops an unlikely friendship with the heir to a tobacco industry marquis. This same marquis has kept Lazzaro and his kin imprisoned as unpaid workers on a farm isolated from the modern world. The film mesmerizingly drifts between somber and bitter-sweet notes while the tobacco leaves and sway and the sun bakes the earth. Because the work is captured in warm 16mm, the setting feels like a piece of art from a lost age. Every character is real. A pinch is required to remind the viewer that this is not a dream or a production, Lazzaro and his partner in crime Tancredi are flesh and blood. The sound profile's depth compliments Lazzaro Felice's archaic beauty. The score uses music box chiming and staccato piano strikes, both of which echo throughout the Italian hills. Despite the Italian language barrier, one can understand the plot from vocal inflections alone. Lastly, the sound effects are rich. The pitter patter of the wolves' claws over concrete is distinct from the crunch of sand and soil underfoot. Lazzaro Felice is not to be missed. It calls to mind an air of innocence and perseverance in spite of the world. It beckons home the love of youth and family.
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Too Obtuse
evanston_dad5 February 2019
"Happy as Lazzaro" feels like a parable with hints of magical realism, and the whole thing was just a bit too obtuse for me to fully enjoy.

There are themes of social repression, economic exploitation, and mankind's abandonment of nature for the more soulless landscapes of urban industrialization, all of which are certainly relevant to the world in which we live. But I found myself hard pressed to feel involved in any of it as explored by this film. Lazzaro is more an idea than an actual character, and I think one of the reasons he's offered as such a blank slate is so that the audience can project on to him whatever they want. I imagine there will be all sorts of different interpretations of this film, who Lazzaro is, and what it is he's meant to signify. I can and have expended that kind of mental energy on answering questions in other movies, and usually enjoy it very much, but I have to feel like the questions are going to be worth answering before I can get my head in that zone, and I didn't with this movie.

Grade: B
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Unique and witty film.
adhikarysrijan25 November 2018
Go and experience this without hesitation... You'll be surprised how well crafted it is.
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Rip van Winkle meets Albert Camus somewhere in an Italian homeless camp.
doublesquids13 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
The French philosopher Albert Camus once wrote, "The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free as to make one's own existence an act of rebellion." In this quirky but spellbinding absurdist Italian movie, an engaging young man, both saint and wolf, manages to pull that off with style. Rip Van Winkle was a character in an old American tale who stays asleep for 20 years, waking up when all has changed. In "Lazzaro felice," young Lazzaro does much of the same, falling into a fever delirium on a grim tobacco plantation where labor laws are violated with impunity, and ending, after waking up, in a homeless encampment, with old acquaintances having aged grotesquely. Lazzaro' rebellion is against hard-hearted people and economic adversity which would crush his soul, but he fights being crushed all the way to a bittersweet end. Not a cheerful movie or an easy plot to follow, but one worth watching, contemplating, and admiring.
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Dark and cynical film which is sweetly and warmly wrapped
SamJohnson14 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Anyone who is decent and good will be exploited by manipulative oppressors is the core message of this film - but it is so fantastic and magical in its fabled telling that it's simple to miss the point being made here. It is an angry and disturbing look at life - but it goes a long way to explaining Trump and Brexit. It's a lot more subtle than Ken Loach's political films but the themes are the same - those in power will always seek to keep you ignorant and use you for their own ends... what it does not do is suggest a communist utopia as the answer which would be Loach's solution. This offers no solutions - only despair and magical realism so beautifully wrought that it can feel strangely uplifting. Requires some thought - it's clever stuff.
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Beautiful Film
tatiana-santini33310 December 2018
Very well done, brilliantly exposing human nature, the contrast and capacities of humans to remain compassionate and kind in spite all suffering, or to be mean and greedy. Very creative, with many deep meaningful messages of kindness and compassion, and how rare and unusual those qualities are. Lazzaro's character reminds me of St. Francis of Assisi, and I got a sense that there was a parallel and subtle comparison to St. Francis. Loved this film.
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What a waste of time!
evakrizsanits22 July 2019
The reviews looked quite promising and so I was looking forward to see the movie... But oh boy, what a waste of time! The first 20 minutes seemed to be interesting but then the nonsense starts, with boring side stories, strange character development until it was not clear anymore what this story was about? Modern day slavery? Friendship? Betrayal? A strange story about a "saint"? Life struggles of poor people? I did not know by the end. I think the good reviews were written from people who think that a weird and boring story that makes no sense is somehow artsy. It's not. It is just plain nonsense.
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Everybody's Fool / See no evil
Horst_In_Translation14 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
"Lazzaro felice" or "Happy as Lazzaro" is a new movie in the Italian language that is a co-production between several West/Central european countries with Italy clearly at the center of it all, not just in terms of language, but also in terms of locations and the general spirit and atmosphere. Writer and director is Alice Rohrwacher who seems to be among a wave of new rising female filmmakers from Europe who could have a shot at making it big in Hollywood at some point as well. Her movie here won a great deal of awards already with the most prestigious being a Screenplay Palme d'Or at Cannes. But this is just one of several and this film made quite some waves at all kinds of film festivals all around the globe. It is a pretty long movie, makes it past the two-hour mark without credits already, but luckily there were almost no segments when it really dragged. The title character is played by Adriano Tardiolo (reminded me a bit of an Italian version of Timothée Chalamet at times) and he is pretty decent I would say. It is his very first performance according to imdb and not as challenging as it may seem. he gets away with 2-3 face expressions as a whole throughout this very movie as his scenes are rarely about him really, but more about the people he interacts with and how they deal with him. But there are also familiar faces in here. I as a European film buff recognized Sergi López immediately and and director Alica Rohrwacher castg her older sister Alba again playing one of the key supporting characters, probably the female character with the most screen time. And finally, there is Nicoletta Braschi from "La vita e bella" in here, one of my favorite films of all time, approaching the age of 60 now and I liked her performance too, even if she really does not have that much screen time.

Early on, the film almost exclusively relies on scenes in which the main character gets humiliated, rather psychologically than physically, by his peers, a group of hard-working farm aides used by a greedy old land owner against their better knowledge and pretty much held like slaves. The film wasn't bad or anything at this point and it was a decentg introduction to the setting and the main character, but perhaps it was a bit too long to be honest and also too many characters that did not get proper elaboration. Then again, most of these were interchangable anyway, like the guy who says he can be called anytime if Lazzaro needs him and then won't be seen again. I thought there could be a love story early on, but it did not turn out this way. instead we get a story about a bizarre fictitious half-brother with platinum blonde hair, who is definitely among the more interesting characters the film has to offer with his ideas of being different and alternative and how he sees himself that way, but in the end, he is really just another spoilt rich kid who is scared of cutting his own arm to add a mark of blood to his fictitious abduction letter where he actually criminalizes Lazzaro, but still treats him like his dog at times. Nonetheless, here and there you could make an argument for him not being as much againstg Lazzaro as everybody else, but that is just personal perception. When Lazzaro falls off a cliff, there is a crucial change in story. And in terms of time and locations. The fact that Lazzaro apparently does not age while everybody around him has gotten decades older let me think that Lazzaro may not have survived the fall off the cliff and everything afterward is just imagination and not reality until he also dies in his mind as well inside the banki while fighting for what he sees as the good cause. And again he is brought to the ground by seemingly everyday men and women. They aren't antagonists, but goodness exceeds their perception and nextg to him they do look evil. There is an interesting comment by a female character early on that each group of people or person just hands the humiliation to the next below them. Sadly, she is probably right, even if she does not perceive Lazzaro as the very bottom who suks it in without really caring or at least without him being bothered by it.

Finallly, a few words on the group of people he ends up with, a gang of small time crooks and the way he meets them and helps them carrying away the stolen goods while mistaking them for people working for a furniture transport enterprise is actually fairly funny and it shows us again Lazzaro's spotless mind. There is a certain irony to that that these are the people that he eventually grown close with, that it's criminals and not the simple people he grew up with, even if these criminals are not really very violent or despicable or anything. they are just trying to make a living and they don't have many other options which also has to do with lack of education when Lazzaro teaches themwhat they can eat and how they do not have to commit crimes to get fed. Sure, there are moments when they are sick of him too, especially the elder members of the group, and he never feels fully integrated with anybody except Rohrwacher's character, but it feels like the firstg time he has a true sense of belonging with other people I assume. Nonetheless, his affection with the blonde guy I mentioned earlier has him break up with these too, at least temporarily, so there must have been a special bond somehow at least from his perspective. But despite all that happens I would not call Lazzaro a masochist. I think he is just willing to do everything what it takes to fit in and help other people and he has a low self-esteem which results in him being willing to do stuff for others that others would not only not do for him, but not do for anybody and he doesn't even questions these actions. You can say that he is pure goodness really and it is depressing to watch how others use him because of that (pretty much everybody) instead of appreciating his spotless mind. An interesting movie that starts mediocre, but gets better the longer it goes and the ending is quite good to be honest. I recommend checking it out and judging from this I am curious what Rohrwacher has in store for us the coming years. Go see it.
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neo-realism meets magic realism
dromasca23 February 2019
Warning: Spoilers
From time to time, once every few years, comes a movie that does not look like anything I've seen before as a passionate cinema fan. It's what's going on with 'Lazarro felice', the film made by the Italian director Alice Rohrwacher. A special, beautiful, one-of-a-kind movie, one of those movies that after watching you have the feeling that you've made new acquaintances within its characters and, if you're not too cynical, you've become a little better than before seeing it.

'Lazarro felice' is one of those films that have an atemporal character, even as the story takes place in a well defined period of time, if we look for example, at the technical accessories used by heroes such as their portable phones. I believe that viewers over 20, 50 or 100 years will understand the metaphor in the spirit of their times. The story of the film combines social and even political elements (social class gaps, labor exploitation of the poor, the bad influence of the tobacco monopoly) characteristic of Neorealism with a powerful magic and religious message. Lazarro, the poor peasant boy in the film, is destined by name but especially by his character and deeds to follow the canons of Catholic Christianity, only that today's world has no respect for those who have a tendency to holiness, exploits them physically and sentimentally, and eventually destroys them. The Biblical story does not tell us what happened to St. Lazarus after the resurrection by Jesus four days after his death. In Alice Rohrwacher's film, in a world that is perhaps our world, he dies the the second time, killed by the people around unable to understand his intentions.'Lazarro felice' may feature in the repertoire of Catholic film festivals, but attention - his resurrection is far from being Christian, the legend of the wolf has origins much older than Christianity in the mythologies of the area we now call Italy.

Good films in the fantasy genre are characterized by the fact that they absorb you in the story beyond the point where you feel the need to check the credibility of the facts that happen on the screen. Just as true believers who do not question the miracles in the Bible, the viewers of this film will not question what Lazarro can do. Much of the merit lies with the actor who plays the lead role, whose name is Adriano Tardiolo. He is at his first film and lives exceptionally in his role. As a matter of fact, a large part of the cast is made up of unprofessional actors, a world of the poor, located at the beginning at the periphery of the geography and later of the society in which the story takes place. A profoundly human world, but one under threat, which only miracles can help survive. Director Alice Rohrwacher made a beautiful film. She is a new and clear voice in the Italian cinema landscape. I'm waiting for many other great movies from her.
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stevejones-918 February 2019
At first, it looks like a feudalistic setting from the 18th/19th century in rural Italy featuring poor serfs under the yoke of the Marquise. Then the Marquise's administrator rolls up in a motor vehicle so we must be in the 20th century, maybe 1950's/60s? Then the Marquise's son breaks out his large mobile phone and walkman so I guess it's around 1995. So, why the hell are these people living as virtual slaves to this Marquise in the 1990s??? Clearly, the film isn't supposed to be 'real' but rather a kind of magical realism analog but about what? About the fact that people are exploited? That some people like the eponymous Lazzaro exist who are good and naive? I think we all knew that already so what's the point of the film? A pointless waste of time. The camera work and acting was good, so I gave it 4/10/
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If you are just looking for an entertaining film, look elsewhere.
abacaba25 June 2019
The critics love this film. Me? I want that two hours of my life back.

An hour into the film, nothing has happened and you have paid so much with your boredom that you feel obligated to watch further. It surely must have some kind of payoff since the critics praise this film, surely it must be worthwhile, surely SOMETHING is going to happen.

It doesn't. There is no payoff. At the end you are searching for something good about this film so you can justify the time spent watching and not feel like you were just swindled. But sometimes, you are just swindled.

Boring, depressing and pointless. Seriously, don't bother with this film.
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Aint Them Italians Saints?
torrascotia10 April 2019
I have read with interest some of the strange interpretations of this movie. The inability to understand what the story this movie conveys is largely down to the lack of awareness of the Catholic faith as its no longer in favour with some due to how the church responded to allegations of abuse. This is a movie about a saint. The main actor bears more than a passing resemblance to Michelangelos David in both facial features and hair. His behaviour is selfless and he turns the other cheek when abused. He is dutiful and never questions authority. He is in short the ideal catholic or rather the ideal that the catholic religion teaches. Religious iconography is all over this movie and there is also a discussion about saints and their demise, the so called shock ending is no shock if you have have ever attended mass. This is not exactly a surprise as this movie is based in a catholic country. The movie is the story about a person who is used as a beast of burden by a group of tobacco workers who are in turn being exploited by the rich, all very biblical. The story is split into two with the first half focusing on the tobacco farm and the second years later in a city setting. There is alot of gentle humour in the movie and it is in part poverty porn, its about the poorest of the poor being exploited by those with better finances. This is also a very catholic idea, that the poor will get to heaven while the rich will not. The story itself is quite simple but is maybe overlong at over two hours. This is a movie which would likely play well to a religious audience who understand where the narrative is coming from. However its in Italian which may limit its reach. Its certainly playing well with the so called educated classes however they appear to be uneducated in the texts of dominant christian religion and interpret this movie as "magical" but seem to miss the point. If you enjoyed Being There this is basically a religious version on the same themes, recommended but its not magical its religious.
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The Happy Idiot
VoyagerMN198630 December 2018
Firstly I very much enjoyed and would recommend this director and writer, Alba Rohrwacher's "The Wonders" which also features her sister, Alba, in a leading acting role. The Wonders conveys to the majority of us who are urban or modern people the magic of fading rural/agricultural life without the heavy handed moralizing we get subject to in "Lazzaro." If you have to be so obvious with your political allegory and beat your audience over the head with it becomes problem.

Mainly what is uncomfortable about the film is ultimately it is a deeply patronizing portray of the working class as happy idiots/holy fools through the character of Lazzaro. Ultimately the film's magic romanticism is a perspective from an unknowing observer. And make no mistake about it, spending a couple of years of childhood on a farm and the rest of ones life in cities, as the writer/director did, does not give one an actual perspective.

Pass on this didactic and overt moralizing tale and see her previous, much much better "The Wonders"
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Too long. Too boring.
debbbbi5 January 2019
There are 3 parts on this film: the first one is ok, the second is not, the third less than the second one... I understand it is supposed to be a fable, but it is quite difficult to find the point of it... Isn't every fable supposed to have a point? I usually love italian films, but I didn't like this one at all.
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portrait of sainthood
Kirpianuscus12 October 2019
First ,I saw it as a remarkable portrait of sainthood. Simple and clear and powerful and delicate. Lazzaro can be an other Prince Mishkin. Or one of the characters of Bunuel from a new Viridiana. But, scene by scene, it remains itself. Out of ages , origins and expectations of the other. And that is all.
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yorulmaz-113 May 2019
Started like a Yasar Kemal novel, became a Jack London story and ended as a Gabriel Marquez book. This is an extraordinary film.
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