Lazzaro Felice (Happy as Lazzaro). 2018. Italy . Directed by Alice Rohrwacher. 130 min.
A shockingly true story of indentured servitude in a remote corner of 1980s Italy is the catalyst for Alice Rohrwacher’s ambitious third feature. Seen through the eyes of wide-eyed teenager Lazzaro—in a dazzling performance by non-professional actor Adriano Tardiolo—life in Inviolata is simple and arduous yet deeply sensual in the manner of intertwined families working the land. Lazzaro’s guileless instinct for goodness in navigating his insulated world transmutes to the realm of magical realism as Rohrwacher unravels her tale across time and space. Landed in present-day Rome, Lazzaro and his clan become the heart of a parable melding folklore and Social Realism rooted in Italian traditions of class struggle. A winding, visually maximalist work of cinema, underpinned by Helene Louvart’s lush 16mm cinematography, Lazzaro Felice is above all a generous act of imagination and storytelling from a unique contemporary voice. Courtesy of Netflix