Lazzaro Felice

A seductive rural fable that applies fairy-tale logic to explore the troubled soul of Italy. Winner of the Best Screenplay award in Cannes.

Please note that this film is in Italian, with Dutch subtitles. Introduction and discussion are in Dutch too.
Time & Tickets

This is the tale of a meeting between Lazzaro, a young peasant so good that he is often mistaken for simple-minded, and Tancredi, a young nobleman cursed by his imagination. Life in their isolated pastoral village Inviolata is dominated by the terrible Marchesa Alfonsina de Luna, the queen of cigarettes. A loyal bond is sealed when Tancredi asks Lazzaro to help him orchestrate his own kidnapping. This strange and improbable alliance is a revelation for Lazzaro. A friendship so precious that it will travel in time and transport Lazzaro in search of Tancredi. His first time in the big city, Lazzaro is like a fragment of the past lost in the modern world.

Alice Rohrwacher, Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany, 2018, 125 min. Italian spoken, Dutch subtitles. With Adriano Tardiolo, Agnese Graziani, Luca Chikovani, Alba Rohrwacher, Sergi López, Natalino Balasso.

After the inferno of World War II, a desire for a new kind of cinema began to grow in Italy: time for the Mussolini-related elite to disappear, films had to be in direct contact with the pale social reality of the moment and not only speak to, but also be filled with authentic Italians. This movement – within in which, among others, Rossellini and De Sica soon delivered a multitude of humanistic masterpieces – was named neorealism. Alice Rohrwacher is clearly in their slipstream (for example, Rossellini’s STROMBOLI is in second place in her Criterion top 10), although LAZZARO FELICE is also wrapped in a surreal blanket, reminiscent of the magical realism of Fellini.

Her films explore the soul of a traditional Italy: 'ordinary' beekeepers are at the heart of THE WONDERS, simple (real life) farmers figure in LAZZARO FELICE. In fact, Adriano Tardolo (Lazzaro in the film), an accountant in the making, didn’t even participate in the casting held at his school; Rohrwacher noticed his straightforward beauty when he unsuspectingly passed her in a hall. Moreover, his aversion to attention made Adriano hard to convince of the role. Only when the production team explained that acting is about introspection, not about frivolity, Lazzaro agreed. Can it be more neorealist?

Interested in the neorealist movement? Check out this video essay!