Happy as Lazzaro premiered in competition and was awarded Best Screenplay for Alice Rohrwacher. The Camera d’Or for best first film was awarded to Lukas Dhont for Girl, which premiered in Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival and was awarded Best Actor for Victor Polster,
Happy as Lazzaro 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.
The film was written and directed by Rohrwacher, and stars Adriano Tardiolo, Luca Chikovani, Alba Rohrwacher, Agnese Graziani, Tommaso Ragno, Sergi Lopez, Natalino Balasso, Gala Othero Winter, David Bennent, Nicoletta Braschi.
Producer is Carlo Cresto-Dina, with co-producers: Tiziana Soudani, Alexandra Henochsberg, Grégory Gajos, Arthur Hallereau, Pierre-François Piet, Michel Merkt, Michael Weber, Viola Fügen. The film is a Tempesta production with Rai Cinema in co-production with Amka Films Prods., Ad Vitam Production, KNM, Pola Pandora, RSI Radiotelevisione Svizzera, ARTE France Cinéma, ZDF/ARTE.
Rohrwacher directed Le Meraviglie (The Wonders), winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.
Dhont’s Un Certain Regard entry Girl was awarded this year’s Queer Palm award. The Queer Palm launched in 2010 and selects its winner from all LGBTQ-themed films across the official selection of the Cannes film festival, Un Certain Regard, Directors’ Fortnight, Critics’ Week and the unofficial ACID section.)
In the film, determined 15-year-old Lara is committed to becoming a professional ballerina. With the support of her father, she throws herself into this quest for the absolute at a new school. Lara’s adolescent frustrations and impatience are heightened as she realizes her body does not bend so easily to the strict discipline because she was born a boy.
The film stars Victor Polster, Arieh Worthalter, Oliver Bodart, Tijmen Govaerts, Katelijne Damen, Valentijn Dhaenens, Magali Elali, Alice de Broqueville, and was written by Dhont and Angelo Tijssens. The producer was Dirk Impens for Menuet, Frakas Productions, and Topkapi Films.
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