Happy As Lazarro (2018)

This buzzed about Italian film didn’t really catch my attention at first, but I kept hearing about it so I figured I’d give it a try. So the film revolves around a simple, young man in the Italian countryside who seems to be content with his life (but he and the rest of the workers are essentially working as indentured servants…in what I can’t tell is either the 80s or 90s). I also can’t tell if Lazarro (played by Adriano Tardiolo) is really “simple” or just that freaking nice and naive because pretty much everyone takes advantage of him.

Lazarro forms and unexpected friendship with the De Luna son (Tancredi) and he hatches this crazy scheme to extort money from his own mother with the help of Lazarro. Then one day Lazarro falls over a cliff (and from the looks of things he should be dead or at least maimed…it was quite a fall), it is here where the movie loses me. No one knows where Lazarro is, then all of a sudden the workers are informed that what the De Luna family had them doing was outlawed years ago (essentially sharecropping) and they are just dropped off in “modern” society to fend for themselves with nothing. Time passes and one day Lazarro awakes from his fall and miraculously is unharmed and hasn’t aged a day even though looking at everyone else, at least 10 years have passed.

Lazarro then reconnects with his old friend, Tancredi, which leads to an unfortunate turn of events for Lazarro…that bank scene was tough. Essentially, this movie is about whether or not “innocence” can survive in modern society. I’m sure I probably missed something profound in this film, but overall it was just weird to me…and very slow moving. Beautifully shot though, with lots of panning, sweeping landscapes. To sum it up, I’d say only watch this if you’re really into arthouse-type films and don’t mind the subtitles. Currently streaming on Netflix.