Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland


The story of Lazzaro, a peasant still shy of 20 and so good he appears stupid, and Tancredi, a young man of the same age but spoilt by his own imagination, is the story of a friendship. It’s a friendship that begins genuinely amid a flurry of secret schemes and lies. Full of light and youthful enthusiasm, it’s the first friendship Lazzaro has ever had. And it subsequently survives the passing of time and the disruptive consequences of a Big Swindle to bring the one, Lazzaro, to a huge, empty city in search of the other, Tancredi.

Director's Statement

When travelling through my country I have often met people like Lazzaro. People I would call good people, but who most of the time do not dedicate themselves to doing good, because they do not know what it is to do good. They simply are, and that which they are means they forever remain in the shadows, because, whenever possible, they relinquish their own selves in order to leave space for others. They are not able to emerge from these shadows. They don’t even know that it is possible to “emerge”.
After reflecting at length on the origins of stories, which are often about people who, unlike these Lazzaros, impose their own destiny, I felt a strong desire to recount the journey of someone whose actions are overwhelmed by events: actions that are perhaps mistaken, but which nonetheless arise from a sort of unconscious and limitless goodness.
Lazzaro cannot change the world: his saintliness is not recognised. The saints, as we imagine them, must have strength and charisma, and be able to impose themselves. However, I don’t think saintliness is linked to charisma. Instead, I believe that if a saint, with their unlikely martyrdom, were to appear in our modern lives, we may not even recognise them as such. They are someone who is empty, who does not know what it means to triumph as an individual. Someone who is surprised but keeps going when the road ends, if they are told that the road doesn’t end. Someone who believes fully in those around them.
This is how the character of Lazzaro was created. From the desire to recount to the world in the lightest way possible, with love and with humour, the tragedy that has devastated my country: the abandonment of the countryside, the migration of thousands of people who knew nothing of modernity to the fringes of cities, and of how they renounced what little they had to have even less. A tragedy that today is being repeated, in the same way, elsewhere.

Director's Biography

Born in 1981 in Fiesole, Alice Rohrwacher studied in Turin and Lisbon. She was involved in music and documentaries, working primarily as an editor and composer for theatre. THE WONDERS, which she wrote and directed, won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes Film Festival 2014 and Best Film at Filmfest München 2014. It has been selected by major international festivals, such as New York, London,Abu Dhabi, and Busan.

2015 - DE DJESS, short
2006 - LA FIUMARA, episode of collective doc CHECOSAMANCA

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Alice Rohrwacher

Written by: Alice Rohrwacher

Produced by: Carlo Cresto-Dina, Tiziana Soudani, Alexandra Henochsberg, Grégory Gajos, Arthur Hallereau, Pierre-François Piet, Michel Merkt, Michael Weber, Viola Fügen

Cinematography: Hélène Louvart

Editing: Nelly Quettier

Production Design: Emita Frigato

Costume Design: Loredena Buscemi

Make-Up & Hair: Daniela Tartari, Ronald Haldimann

Original Score: Piero Crucitti

Sound Design: Marta Billingsley

Visual Effects: Rodolfo Migliari

Cast: Adriano Tardiolo (Lazzaro), Agnese Graziani (Antonia young), Alba Rohrwacher (Antonia old), Luca Chikovani (Tancredi young), Tommaso Ragno (Tancredi old), Nicoletta Braschi (Marchesa Alfonsina De Luna), Sergi Lopez (Ultimo)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Screenwriter 2018
  • European Actress 2018
  • European Director 2018
  • European Film 2018
  • People's Choice Award 2019
  • Feature Film Selection 2018