Film Society Selection
'HAPPY AS LAZZARO'
book a ticket for this and forthcoming BFS screenings please contact the
SHP Box Office on 01344 484123 or click the logo below to book via the
Tickets: Mon-Thur evenings & all matinees £9.50, Conc £8.50, Members £7.50
Fri-Sun evenings £9.50, Members £7.50
BFS Members £7.10 for BFS films - you may be asked to show your membership card. Phone reservations can be held for 4 days.
Tuesday 10th July 7.30pm
FILM RECEIVED 14 WINS AND 42 NOMINATIONS
Alice Rohrwacher, Italy/Switzerland/France
2018, 127 minutes Italian with subtitles
Adriano Tardiolo, Alba Rohrwacher, Luca Chikovani
An unceasingly kind peasant and his family are blatantly exploited. Mixing folk tales with social critique,
this luminous magic-realist fable is an origin myth for a modern Italy consumed by corruption and decline.
Slips across times and genres with a honeyed beauty GUARDIAN
The Dinosaur U
Director: Mateo Willis, UK, 2017, 100 seconds
A man wakes up on a high mountain, only to discover he is not alone.
makes sense in Happy as Lazzaro, until a stunning mid-film
pivot that shakes time and space and snaps it all together, its world
emerging from the disturbance as senseless again but in a completely
different, all too recognizable way. The third and most richly strange
feature yet from Italian writer-director Alice Rohrwacher, this beautifully
rendered tangram of a movie sees her pushing her recurring fascination
with fables to its most literal (and literate) degree. Earthy folkloric
storytelling, time-traveling magical realism and fact-inspired social
drama are fused in its tale of a rural innocent defying lifes
certainties to bear witness to two separate eras of social and economic
exploitation. The result is a slow but bewitching burn that rewards
viewers patience with humor and uncanny grace, sealing Rohrwachers
status following her 2014 Cannes Grand Prix winner The
Wonders as a truly distinctive European major.
and ears through this are chiefly those of young peasant Lazzaro (beguiling,
buttermilk-faced newcomer Adriano Tardiolo), an achingly naive adolescent
who seems otherworldly even in the highly, well, other world of Inviolata.
Lazzaro is more pure than simple: someone to whom acts of goodness and
good faith come reflexively, without consideration or guile, making
him blindest of all to his peoples victimization under the Marquises
thumb. All of which makes him vulnerably fascinated by Tancredi (Georgian
actor-musician Luca Chikovani, another big-screen novice), the rakish,
devious lad of the manor, who draws Lazzaro into a close, conspiratorial
friendship that comes to transcend the borders of this suspended reality.
If that makes Happy as Lazzaro sound like a nightmarish esoteric spin on Forrest Gump, rest assured that the film, for all its interest in fables, trades less in morals than in equivocal, irony-laced human observation. Rohrwacher deftly skirts sentimentality even as she risks big, expansive poetic gestures: A scene where heavens-opening organ music is literally stolen from a cathedral, exiting the church doors on a fair evening wind, is almost chillingly lovely, while the film mostly resists preciousness as it weaves recurring traditional mythology into an already amply storied narrative.
As in both Rohrwachers previous films, the great French d.p. Hélène Louvart is an invaluable creative ally in her near-seamless melding of realism and fabulism. Shooting in tactile, textured 16mm, her camera deliberately glides and gazes over the dry, calcified fields and slopes of Inviolata as if it were exploring the cratered surface of another planet, washed in shades of mustard and umber that suggest an entire landscape discolored by tobacco. Through the eyes of Lazzaro, however, the rain-stained streets and satellite towers of an unremarkable Italian industrial town are made to appear no less alien. That the corners of the frame are slightly rounded throughout, as in a yellowed photograph from a past era (and as also seen in Lisandro Alonsos 2014 Jauja), might be one of its few too-cute details. Even that, however, heightens the sense of Happy as Lazzaro as a wilfully, gorgeously out-of-time work, one that tangles past and present with critical concern for the future.