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  • Still, Lazzaro is happy


    Konrad Wakolbinger

    Alice Rohrwacher's film about the dubious liberation from a relationship of subjection

    The Italian director Alice Rohr­wa­cher describes in her great film “Lazzaro Felice” (Happy as Lazzaro) in poetic language how the system changes while poor, exploited people remain poor and exploited, but differently.

    In the mountains in the middle of Italy. A small village community lives a simple, idyllic life in harmony with nature. They cultivate the fields, milk the cows, cook, eat and when night falls, everyone goes to sleep. Lazzaro’s place is far above the sett­le­ment, with the sheep. Lazzaro is a little slow and always happy. He’s a man of holy simplicity.

    In a show of strength, the share­crop­pers bring in the harvest.  While an employee from another world appears. He commands, he measures the yield of the fields and decides on profit or loss. However, he never fails to give less than the people are entitled to. He is hired by the all-powerful aristo­crat, the lady who owns the land, the manor and the people who work for it. During the summer holidays she moves into the villa next to the manor with her grown-up son.

    It is an unspe­ci­fied 20th century time. Yet the small village exists like an undis­co­ve­r­ed island in a pre-modern mode. This is due to the unques­tio­ned authority of the lordship, who deli­ber­ate­ly and con­ve­ni­en­t­ly leaves their workers in ignorance. This became possible because, probably long ago, a storm destroyed the bridge over the river. The path to the world outside is only possible with enormous effort. In the course of a search operation by the police, the village is dis­co­ve­r­ed by a heli­co­p­ter. Thereby, the serfs are freed.

    They now live as desti­tu­tes next to the railway tracks in a big city. Lazzaro is looking for a job as a day labourer and thus meets the estate manager again. As a labour broker he sells desperate people into the plan­ta­ti­ons of indus­tri­al agri­cul­tu­re, also. These unwitting job seekers have no choice, but to undercut them­sel­ves in a kind of perverse auction. Sometimes the former village community has to provide itself with food through petty criminal acts. And even the com­ple­te­ly impo­ve­ris­hed noble family manages to profit from them once again.

    "Glücklich wie Lazzaro" Italien 2018, Regie: Alice Rohrwacher / Tempesta 

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    Still, Lazzaro is happy

    Konrad Wakolbinger

    Alice Rohrwacher's film about the dubious liberation from a relationship of subjection

    The Italian director Alice Rohr­wa­cher describes in her great film “Lazzaro Felice” (Happy as Lazzaro) in poetic language how the system changes while poor, exploited people remain poor and exploited, but differently.

    In the mountains in the middle of Italy. A small village community lives a simple, idyllic life in harmony with nature. They cultivate the fields, milk the cows, cook, eat and when night falls, everyone goes to sleep. Lazzaro’s place is far above the sett­le­ment, with the sheep. Lazzaro is a little slow and always happy. He’s a man of holy simplicity.

    In a show of strength, the share­crop­pers bring in the harvest.  While an employee from another world appears. He commands, he measures the yield of the fields and decides on profit or loss. However, he never fails to give less than the people are entitled to. He is hired by the all-powerful aristo­crat, the lady who owns the land, the manor and the people who work for it. During the summer holidays she moves into the villa next to the manor with her grown-up son.

    It is an unspe­ci­fied 20th century time. Yet the small village exists like an undis­co­ve­r­ed island in a pre-modern mode. This is due to the unques­tio­ned authority of the lordship, who deli­ber­ate­ly and con­ve­ni­en­t­ly leaves their workers in ignorance. This became possible because, probably long ago, a storm destroyed the bridge over the river. The path to the world outside is only possible with enormous effort. In the course of a search operation by the police, the village is dis­co­ve­r­ed by a heli­co­p­ter. Thereby, the serfs are freed.

    They now live as desti­tu­tes next to the railway tracks in a big city. Lazzaro is looking for a job as a day labourer and thus meets the estate manager again. As a labour broker he sells desperate people into the plan­ta­ti­ons of indus­tri­al agri­cul­tu­re, also. These unwitting job seekers have no choice, but to undercut them­sel­ves in a kind of perverse auction. Sometimes the former village community has to provide itself with food through petty criminal acts. And even the com­ple­te­ly impo­ve­ris­hed noble family manages to profit from them once again.

    "Glücklich wie Lazzaro" Italien 2018, Regie: Alice Rohrwacher / Tempesta

    Tags


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    About this blog

    By selecting a film or an image, this blog literally illus­tra­tes the vast sphere of work, employ­ment & education in an open collec­tion of academic, artistic and also anecdotal findings.

    About us

    Konrad Wakol­bin­ger makes docu­men­ta­ry films about work and life. Jörg Mar­ko­witsch does research on education and work. They are both based in Vienna. Infor­ma­ti­on on guest authors can be found in their cor­re­spon­ding articles.

    More about

    Inte­res­ted in more? Find recom­men­da­ti­ons on relevant festivals, film collec­tions and lite­ra­tu­re here.

    About this blog

    With picking a film or an image, this blog literally illus­tra­tes the vast sphere of work, employ­ment & education in an open collec­tion of academic, artistic and also anecdotal findings.

    About us

    Konrad Wakol­bin­ger makes docu­men­ta­ry films about work and life. Jörg Mar­ko­witsch does research on education and work. We both work in Vienna. Infor­ma­ti­on on guest authors can be found in their respec­ti­ve articles.

    More about

    Inte­res­ted in more? Find recom­men­da­ti­ons on relevant festivals, film collec­tions and lite­ra­tu­re here.