Happy as Lazzaro


Writer/Director Alice Rohrwacher

A beautiful fable of a risen Lazarus/Christ figure who is a ‘good man’ and a sort of simpleton (reminding me of Peter Sellars’ Chauncy in Being There) living a peasant life, taken advantage of by his ‘family’, the villagers who are all treated as slaves by the Marchesa who makes them farm her land and live in squalor. Lazzaro (an excellently angelic Adriano Tardiolo) barely speaks and exist sort of on another plane, oblivious to any cruelties he suffers at the hands of his compatriots or the world at large. He actually never suffers, seemingly anointed with sainted grace, even though the film isn’t overtly religious, other than a specific scene near the end.

Ms. Rohrwacher creates a compelling story whose script won the writing prize at Cannes, and this film is stylistically consistent with her previous film The Wonders, starring her sister Alba, who also stars here, and Monica Bellucci. This film left me reflective about the fate of a good man in the world today, and how grace or god might be present among us, but we miss due to indifference and selfishness. Must See

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