A sensitive touch that makes every face, tree and ray of light come alive

The New York Times

Happy as Lazzaro



This is the tale of a meeting between Lazzaro, a young peasant so good that he is often mistaken for simple-minded, and Tancredi, a young nobleman cursed by his imagination. Life in their isolated pastoral village Inviolata is dominated by the terrible Marchesa Alfonsina de Luna, the queen of cigarettes. A loyal bond is sealed when Tancredi asks Lazzaro to help him orchestrate his own kidnapping. This strange and improbable alliance is a revelation for Lazzaro. A friendship so precious that it will travel in time and transport Lazzaro in search of Tancredi. His first time in the big city, Lazzaro is like a fragment of the past lost in the modern world.

directed by






In co-production with

Amka Films Productions, Ad Vitam Production, KNM, Pola Pandora



World Premiere

Festival de Cannes






Lazzaro Felice is the story of a lesser sanctity, with no miracles, no powers or superpowers, without special effects. It is the sanctity of living in this world without thinking ill of anyone and simply believing in human beings. Because another way was possible, the way of goodness, which men have always ignored but which always reappears to question them. Like something that might have been but that we’ve never ever wanted.

Good guys, saints, losers and Lazzaros

Travelling through my country and my time I’ve often met “happy Lazzaros”, people I would describe as good but who, more times than not, don’t devote themselves to doing good because they don’t know what doing good is. They are, and what they are makes them stay in the background because, wherever they can, they abdicate themselves to leave room for others – so as not to disturb. They can’t emerge or, rather, they don’t even know it’s possible to “emerge”. They are the ones who finish off the heavy, unpleasant jobs left over by humanity, putting right the things others absent-mindedly ride roughshod over, though no one notices them doing it. Books and films speak a lot about the destiny of heroes who rebel and fight injustice, who transform and assert themselves – they want to change the world!

But our Lazzaro can’t change the world and his sanctity can’t be recognised. As we imagine them, saints should have strength and charisma and have to impose themselves.

But I don’t believe sanctity is charisma. I believe instead that if a saint were to appear today with his unsustainable call for another way of existing, if he were to appear in our modern lives, perhaps we wouldn’t even recognise him or perhaps we would rid ourselves of him without a second thought. We’re speaking here of a religion of humanity, not of a well-administered official religion with its dazzling robes and weekly rules.

Moving from Middle Ages to Middle Ages

I wanted to use the adventures of Lazzaro to tell – as gently as possible, with love and humour – the tragedy that has devastated my country, namely the passage from a material Middle Ages to a human Middle Ages: the end of rural civilisation, the migration to city boundaries of thousands of people who knew nothing of modernity, their giving up of little to have even less. A world of grubby exploitations that comes to an end and turns into one of newer, glossier, more attractive exploitations.

Travelling in time and always staying in the same place

Without knowing it, Lazzaro travels in time and, with friendly eyes wide-open, questions images of the present as an enigma. Why travel in time? Folding the pages of history and seeing eras so contradictory yet so similar – it was always a desire of mine when I was at school to shake the book and shuffle the cards. And cinema somehow makes this possible


Alice Rohrwacher was born in 1981 in Fiesole (Italy) and studied in Turin and Lisbon.
She has worked in music, performing as a musician for theatre and in documentary filmmaking as editor and director.



  • “Grand Jury Prize” Cannes Festival 2014
  • “Best film” Filmfest München 2014
  • “Black Pearl Award” New Horizons Abu Dhabi Film festival 2014
  • “Special Jury Award” Seville European film Festival 2014
  • “Best Screenplay” Mar del Plata International Film Festival 2014

CORPO CELESTE Italy/France/Switzerland/Germany 2011 (98’)

  • “Ingmar Bergman Int. Debut Award” 2012
  • “Nastro d’Argento” Best Newcomer 2012
  • “Ciak d’Oro” Best Newcomer 2012
  • “Premio Suso Cecchi D’Amico” Best Screenplay 2012

LA FIUMARA episode of the collective documentary Che cosa manca Italia/What is Italy missing 2006 (7’)


Lazzaro Adriano Tardiolo
Antonia adulta Alba Rohrwacher
Tancredi adulto Tommaso Ragno
Tancredi giovane Luca Chikovani
Antonia giovane Agnese Graziani
Ultimo Sergi Lopez
Nicola Natalino Balasso
and with Nicoletta Braschi playing Marchesa Alfonsina De Luna


written and directed by Alice Rohrwacher
photography Hélène Louvart
editing Nelly Quettier
sound Christophe Giovannoni
sound editing Marta Billingsley
set design Emita Frigato
costumes Loredana Buscemi

tempesta / Carlo Cresto-Dina production produced with Rai Cinema 

in coproduction with Pola Pandora Filmproduktion, Ad Vitam, Amka Films Productions
in coproduction with RSI, Radiotelevisione svizzera, ARTE France Cinema, ZDF
with Arte France
supported by Eurimages, Ufficio Federale Della Cultura (DFI), Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg
financing by Investitionsbank des Landes Brandenburg
in collaboration with Aides aux Cinémas du Monde Centr National du Cinéma et de l’image animée
supported by Regione Lazio Fondo Regionale per il cinema e l’audiovisivo
supported by Ministero dei Beni e della Attività Culturali e del Turismo – Direzione Generale Cinema