Resorting to fiction inevitably shifts the stakes from the most realistic intentions: henceforth, we might as well apprehend reality through the prism of the parable. This is the bias of Alice Rohrwacher, who was already filming little people at human height on Super 16 film in Les Merveilles, but who is gaining more daring here in her writing project. Enjoy our critc of Happy as Lazzaro movie.
Happy as Lazzaro movie critic
The story of Happy as Lazzaro movie is split into two parts. The first immerses us in a peasant community that we believe to be located in the middle of the 19th century, where work in the fields punctuates the seasons within a large family living in autarky, for the benefit of a marquise who, we will learn quickly, failed to tell them that the rights of serfdom were no longer in force. We find here an atmosphere close to the deception of Underground, where the stakes of the war would be displaced on the economic and social question.
In this family disconnected from the contemporary world, which seems to have emerged from the elegiac Arbre aux Sabots, with the grain of the film helping, toil governs relationships: survival in submission nevertheless passes through a peaceful relationship with nature, but not However, this does not exclude the exploitation of Lazzaro, a young enlightened man, a sort of village simple to whom we delegate all the most thankless tasks.
This figure of disinterested kindness centralizes the story: a sturdy fellow with the face of an angel, Lazzaro smiles casually and yet remains in the shadows, oblivious to his status and the moral greatness that could sanctify him.
The strange tone of Happy as Lazzaro movie come from a subtle play on points of view: the filmmaker usually suspends her judgment, relying on actions and the way they are viewed by the eponymous character, which opposes the venality or exploitation of some with boundless generosity. It seems to take over from a lush nature in the heart of Italy, arid and hostile Eden, certainly, but adorned with an aura that commands respect and contemplation.
The sudden break with the second part will only be more marked: it is an opening to the world of the city, which allows, through an enigmatic ellipse, to suddenly embrace contemporary reality. At the heart of the fable lies the decades-long story of the rural exodus and false social promises made to the people, who shifted from rural serfdom to urban slavery.
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It is in these bridges between the poetic parable and the unvarnished look at her country that Alice Rohrwacher hits the mark. Because the denunciation is made through the filter of an unchanged gaze, that of an individual who perseveres in the miracle of his deep humanity. Under the filth of misery and social degradation vibrate those who remain men and women, and whom History frees the better to forget them. The counterbid scene where migrants agree to lower their wages to get work thus allows a direct connection to contemporary Italy, and unleashes the eerie magic of a story about the salient outskirts of a sick country.
In the fatty leaves of a solar field or in the icy rain of the decaying city, from the top of the mountain or in front of the organs of a church, Lazzaro leaves a wake that belies the ambient pessimism, and invites to look at the man in the individuals who inhabit this excluded world.