The visual beauty of Rohrwacher’s film harks back to Neo-realist Italian cinema, but the director forges her own story by shedding light on contemporary social injustices. Set in the rural Lazio region, the plot unfolds amongst scenes of rugged valleys, cobblestone villages and ochre fields where, despite being set in the 1980s, modernity is yet to infiltrate.
The story follows the lives of Italian peasants, growing tobacco in a sharecropping arrangement, who are exploited by ‘The Queen of Cigarettes’ (Nicoletta Braschi): an aristocratic landlady who tenuously holds onto an archaic social order. This oppressive status-quo is disrupted by her Quixotic son, Tancredi (Luca Chikovani), as he rebels against his mother by faking his own kidnapping and forges a powerful friendship with one of the estate’s boys, Lazzaro (Adriano Tardiolo).
Words associated with Rohrwacher include 'magical realism' and 'charming coming-of-age' – her stories celebrate young life and endless possibilities, capturing a moment impossible to forget while never decoding every enigmatic detail too soon. Her previous film The Wonders won the Grand Prix in Cannes in 2014, and Happy as Lazzaro won the award for Best Screenplay in 2018.
Netflix is garnering a reputation as a haven for art house films, with Alfonso Cuarón's critically-acclaimed Roma heralded as one of the platform's highlights of the year. Let’s hope Happy As Lazzaro can nurture their rising star.
|What||Happy as Lazzaro: Alice Rohrwacher's magical realist movie|
05 Apr 19 – 05 Apr 20, TIMES VARY
|Price||£ determined by cinemas|
|Website||Click here for more information|