Happy as Lazzaro

Screening Dates:
28th, 29th August and 1st September 2019

Director: Alice Rohrwacher
Cast: Adriano Tardiolo, Agnese Graziani and Alba Rohrwacher
 120 mins
Rating: (M)
Subtitles: Yes

Synopsis: On an estate called Inviolata, isolated since 1977, 54 farmhands work on a tobacco farm in a sharecropping arrangement, where they are constantly in debt and thus unpaid. The farm is run by the notorious Alfonsina de Luna, "Queen of Cigarettes". Lazzaro is a worker on the farm who dutifully follows every command given to him by the marquis and the heads of the estate. Tancredi is the marquis, who befriends Lazzaro. Becoming disillusioned with the cycle of exploitation on the estate, Tancredi decides to defy Alfonsina, his mother, by faking his own kidnapping. Tancredi and Lazzaro set out in the wilderness and ditches, where they write a false ransom note with Lazzaro posing as the kidnapper. They imitate a wolf's howl to make contact with a wolf roaming the countryside; Tancredi also warmly suggests they could be half-brothers, since his father was a womanizer. Lazzaro takes the idea of their brotherhood seriously.

The police are called to the estate to search for the missing marquis; they are astonished by what they see, saying sharecropping has long been illegal, and the workers should be earning wages, and that the children should have mandatory education. The police evacuate Inviolata, and Alfonsina is arrested in what becomes known as the "Great Swindle". Lazzaro falls off a cliff, and the wolf meets him and identifies him by smell as a good man.

When Lazzaro awakes many years later, he is unaged and wanders into Inviolata, which is long abandoned and being raided by robbers. The robbers tell him the estate has moved and they are moving possessions for the marquis. They also tell him the city is within walking distance. Lazzaro sets out for the city, which he has never seen before. There, a woman, Antonia, recognizes Lazzaro from the farm. She takes him into a circle of impoverished survivors of Inviolata. They express disbelief as to his lack of aging and tell him of the Great Swindle, but Lazzaro is more concerned with finding Tancredi. Recognizing Tancredi's voice when he is calling for his dog, Lazzaro is reunited with his "half-brother". Tancredi recognizes Lazzaro and is overjoyed.

Lazzaro learns Tancredi has lost his fortune to the bank. He visits a bank, where he sets off an alarm. The staff and clients are terrified Lazzaro has a firearm, and Lazzaro asks for the de Luna fortune to be returned. When the clients realize Lazzaro only has a slingshot, they beat him. Lazzaro has another vision of the wolf, which takes off from the bank and runs free.


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