Happy as Lazzaro

Director: Alice Rohrwacher
Year Released: 2018
Rating: 3.0

Simpleton Lazzaro (Adriano Tardiolo), working as a sharecropper for a wealthy tobacco businesswoman Marchesa Alfonsina de Luna (Nicoletta Braschi), befriends her son Tancredi (Luca Chikovani) - the two young men run off and hide together and Tancredi tries convincing Mom he's been kidnapped and needs money ... meanwhile, Lazzaro falls off a cliff (!) but is revived by a wolf (!?). It's quite charming in a fairy tale sort-of way: Lazzaro is permanently innocent in a world of corruption and he takes people at face-value ... the movie only falls apart in the final third when it over-does its Christ Metaphor and it runs out of places to go with its story (the "bank robbery" is a little lame). Rohrwacher - sister of Alba (who plays one of Lazzaro's 'friends') - captures rustic Italy wonderfully, and Tardiolo's gee! duh! stare is just right for the lead: taking a page from Pasolini, the director cast him even though he has no professional training.