Happy as Lazzaro

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Happy as Lazzaro
Happy as Lazzaro.jpg
Italian theatrical release poster
Directed byAlice Rohrwacher
Written byAlice Rohrwacher
StarringAdriano Tardiolo
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • 13 May 2018 (2018-05-13) (Cannes)
  • 31 May 2018 (2018-05-31) (Italy)
Running time
130 minutes

Happy as Lazzaro (Italian: Lazzaro felice) is a 2018 Italian drama film directed by Alice Rohrwacher. It was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.[1][2] At Cannes, Rohrwacher won the award for Best Screenplay.[3]


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.



According to the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 89% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 72 reviews, with an average rating of 7.8/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "Happy as Lazzaro uses a friendship's ups and downs as a satisfyingly expansive canvas for a picture rich with thematic and cinematic depth."[4] At Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 87 out of 100 based on 27 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[5]


Award Category Recipient(s) and Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Cannes Film Festival Best Screenplay Alice Rohrwacher Won [6]
National Board of Review Top Five Foreign-Language Films Happy as Lazzaro Won [7]
Independent Spirit Awards Best International Film Happy as Lazzaro Nominated [8]


  1. ^ "The 2018 Official Selection". Cannes Film Festival. 12 April 2018. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  2. ^ Debruge, Peter; Keslassy, Elsa (12 April 2018). "Cannes Lineup Includes New Films From Spike Lee, Jean-Luc Godard". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  3. ^ Debruge, Peter (19 May 2018). "2018 Cannes Film Festival Award Winners Announced". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  4. ^ "Happy as Lazzaro (Lazzaro felice) (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Happy as Lazzaro Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  6. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (19 May 2018). "Cannes Winners: 'Shoplifters' Takes Palme D'Or; Spike Lee's 'BlacKkKlansman' Is Grand Prize – Full List". Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  7. ^ "'Green Book' Named Best Film by National Board of Review". Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  8. ^ "Independent Spirit Awards: 'Eighth Grade,' 'First Reformed' Among Best Feature Nominees". Retrieved 3 December 2018.

External links[edit]